The San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals agreed to a three-player trade on Thursday, a week before Major League Baseball intends to launch its 2020 season. The Padres sent outfielder Franchy Cordero and right-handed pitcher Ronald Bolanos to the Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Tim Hill, according to the teams.
Hill, 30, is a submariner who relies on a pair of fastballs (four-seamer and sinker) and a slider. Predictably, he's been more effective against left-handed hitters during his big-league career, holding them to a .524 OPS. (He's allowed a .766 OPS against right-handers.) Hill is under team control through the 2024 season. At minimum, he represents the fourth notable addition to San Diego's bullpen since the end of last year, joining Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan, and Pierce Johnson. The Padres also kept All-Star closer Kirby Yates instead of trading him.
The Padres outfield now seems likely to feature some configuration of Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, and Josh Naylor. Cordero's departure would seem to pave the way for prospect Edward Olivares to crack the roster as well.
The Royals, meanwhile, get a pair of younger and less proven players.
Cordero, 25, has hit .240/.306/.431 (99 OPS+) in 273 big-league plate appearances. He has all the physical components to be a productive player: well-above-average raw power and speed, and a strong enough arm for right field. Alas, Cordero has struggled to make consistent contact, resulting in a career strikeout rate just short of 39 percent. He figures to see action in center for the Royals, alongside some combination of Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling.
Bolanos, 23, made five big-league appearances last season. He has a wide repertoire, albeit without a clear outpitch. The Royals figure to give him every opportunity to stick as a starter, but he appears more likely to end up in a swingman or relief role.