The San Diego Padres trade deadline saw them address holes they needed to fill. They acquired left-hander Rich Hill and first baseman Ji-Man Choi, sending a trio of prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both Hill and Choi have posted mediocre seasons this year. Hill owns a 4.76 ERA in 22 starts, whereas Choi has a .731 OPS in 23 games after missing time with a left Achilles injury. Both offer significant upgrades over the current options San Diego has right now.
Padres Trade Breakdown
Whether the Padres planned to sell at the deadline was a topic of discussion, much less buy. Pending FAs Josh Hader and Blake Snell likely to not resign, returns for the two left pitchers promised formidable returns to build on for coming years. Projected to challenge the Dodgers for the NL West pennant, the 2023 team has been an incredible flop. As of Aug. 1, they sit five games back of a wild-card berth, yet to win three consecutive games. All rumors of selling have been quashed after last week’s series sweep of first-place Texas Rangers. It appears GM AJ Preller will refuse to pull the plug on what is shaping to be a lost season. Instead, the Padres will attempt to salvage it from the fire with the help of two new teammates.
Padres Get Their DH
Ji-Man Choi will see at-bats against right-handed starters in San Diego. Albeit a small sample size due to injury, Choi’s barrel percentage rate is 25.5% in 76 plate appearances. Despite substandard traditional numbers, it will be tough to stoop below the value of the Padres’ current lefty DH Matt Carpenter and his .598 OPS. The 32-year-old may even steal playing time from struggling 1B Jake Cronenworth, who is having a down year. Choi’s first game as a Padre will mark the first time in MLB history two Korean-born players share a lineup, with 2B Ha-Seong Kim.
Hill On The Move Again
MLB’s Elder statesman Rich Hill finds himself on his 13th ball club. At 43 years old, Hill is pitching to a 4.76 ERA. His fit with the current Padres rotation is cloudy, however. With fifth starter Michael Wachs returning soon, decisions will be made on who pitches where. Or, a six-man rotation is implemented, although unlikely this late into the season. The Padres tried it last year, and it worked well.
The Pirates Return
On the Pirates’ end, they receive INF Alfonso Rivas, OF Estuar Suero, and LHP Jackson Wolf. Rivas is a patient hitter, slashing .332/.462/.582 in Triple-A this year. Wolf is the Padres’ No. 16 prospect, a 6’7 soft-tosser who made his MLB debut weeks ago. Suero is a 17-year-old currently in San Diego’s Arizona Complex League.
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