Breaking Down Baseball's 3-Team, 11-Player Trade: Can Wil Myers Bounce Back?
You don't see these kinds of trades anymore.
Eleven-player deals involving three teams are incredibly hard to pull off, so when they happen, they're usually very intriguing. This one is no different.
The Rays, Padres, and Nationals agreed to a deal on Tuesday that would send a slew of young players (and Ryan Hanigan) all over the place. Here's how it breaks down.
San Diego gets four players from the Rays: outfielder Wil Myers, Hanigan, a catcher, and two pitchers, Jose Castillo, and Gerardo Reyes.
Washington gets two players from the Padres: pitcher Joe Ross, and shortstop Trea Turner.
The headliner in the deal is the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Myers, who fell on hard times in 2014.
A wrist injury ended his season after just 87 games last year, one year removed from a terrific rookie campaign. His nERD of -0.75 last year meant that a lineup full of Myerses would score 0.75 runs a game fewer than a league-average player.
What's encouraging is that, even though he was hurt, his walk rate actually improved last year (8.8 to 9.4%) and his strikeout rate remained about the same (24.4 to 24.9%). The problem was his line drive rate fell from 20.2 to 15.6% and his home run to fly ball rate was cut in half, from 15.5 to 7.0%. He simply couldn't generate any power with his bad wrist.
At 24 years old, the Padres are betting a healthy Myers will mean a productive Myers. Of course, expectations should be tempered a bit, as he moves to Petco Park for half his games, a known pitcher's paradise.
As for some of the deal's other highlights, among the five players acquired by the Rays was Washington outfielder Souza, who will likely be Myers' replacement. Last year in Triple-A, Souza hit .345/.427/.577 with 18 home runs and 28 steals in 419 plate appearances and was the Independent League MVP. He also did this, on the final day of the season, to preserve Ryan Zimmerman's no-hitter.
Souza was expendable by Washington because they already have Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper manning the corner outfield spots. In return, the Nats get their potential shortstop of the future, Trea Turner, who was drafted in the first round by the Padres last year. He won't officially be a part of the deal yet, but will be a player to be named later, once he's eligible to be traded.
Turner could serve as an in-house replacement for Ian Desmond, who could leave the team via free agency after the 2015 season. It would certainly indicate a contract extension between the two teams is not in the works.
There are certainly lots of other aspects to this deal that are intriguing. The acquisition of Myers and Matt Kemp by the Padres (provided that deal goes through) likely means the end of Seth Smith's tenure in San Diego. He was their best hitter last year when he slashed .266/.367/.440 with 12 homers and a wRC+ of 133 but is likely on his way out.
And the Rays and Padres swapped two catchers in their 30s, with Hanigan's going to the Friars and Rivera's going to the Rays. Rivera was a surprise success story for San Diego in '14 when he put up a wRC+ of 114 in Petco Park, with 11 homers and an fWAR of 3.0. Hanigan put up an fWAR of 1.2 for Tampa, mainly because of his defense. The move opens up the catching spot for top prospect Austin Hedges for San Diego.
Anytime you have a three-team, 11-player trade like this, there are ripple effects to be felt everywhere. This one is no different.
The next few years will determine who got the better end of the deal out of this swap meet.