Mark your calendars, everyone. Trade season is officially upon us.
The surprising Marlins entered Thursday with a half-game lead in the hunt for the second Wild Card spot. Miami's front office evidently isn't satisfied with their standing, however, because they've traded for Padres closer Fernando Rodney. Both teams announced the deal on Thursday afternoon. The Padres acquired pitching prospect Chris Paddack as part of the deal.
Rodney is in the midst of a better season than most realize. He's allowed just two runs (one earned) in his first 28 innings, and has yet to give up a home run. While Rodney has always battled his command and tendency to tip pitches, he continues to employ a mid-90s fastball and one of the best changeups in the game. So long as he's near the zone -- and that's not a guarantee -- he should remain an effective late-inning option. Consider that a good thing for the 2016 Marlins, and potentially the 2017 version as well, since Rodney's contract includes an affordable club option ($2 million plus incentives).
As for where Rodney fits into the Marlins bullpen, the safest expectation is that he'll slot in as the eighth-inning man. The Marlins already have a highly effective closer in A.J. Ramos, meaning Don Mattingly would seemingly be more likely to bump David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough down a peg apiece. Of course, there's also a financial benefit to using Rodney in a non-closer role -- his option year's worth is tied in large part to how many games he finishes.
Paddack, 20, was the Marlins' eighth-round pick in last year's draft. He is a well-built righty with impressive minor-league numbers: in 28 innings at A-ball this season, he's given up nine hits, three runs, and two walks. He was ranked as the 17th-best prospect by MLB.com, who concldued that he "he shows the early makings of a potential No. 3 or 4 starter."