In a season where the Rays won 96 games in the AL East and took the Houston Astros to Game 5, they entered the offseason looking to fill their weaknesses. The Padres, trying to expedite a rebuild, looked to do the same thing.
The Rays have now traded veteran leader Tommy Pham, just a year and a half after acquiring him from the St. Louis Cardinals. Pham, who lives close to California being he’s a Nevada native, will go closer to home to San Diego alongside an unknown minor league prospect. In return, Hunter Renfroe goes to Tampa Bay alongside San Diego’s number 5 prospect, 20 year old shortstop Xavier Edwards.
Pham is known for his high walk rate and moderate pop. He may be the best at it, but he’s a contact oriented hitter on a team with an abundance of contact hitting. Tampa Bay in 2019 glaringly lacked an impact power bat outside of breakout Austin Meadows. Hunter Renfroe is the exact opposite.
Playing in one of MLBs biggest ballparks, he has averaged 37 Homeruns since the start of 2016. He’s a low on base percentage guy (.294) but will average out to a .788 OPS, meaning he’s very good at being a power hitter. A change of scenery with a hitting coach focused on OBP a could easily up those numbers. But hitting 40 HR in Petco is not easy, and going to a division with 5 hitter friendly ballparks could potentially see him hit 50.
The Padres needed a veteran leader as they finish the last 2 years of the rebuild. With their core of young veterans locked down long term (Machado, Hosmer, etc), Pham will just add more experience for young players like Tatis. He will be their everyday left fielder. Pham’s 3.7 WAR in 2019 was higher than any Padres left fielder since Justin Upton in 2015, and before that it goes back to Reggie Sanders in 1999. The deal works for SD because they needed a quality stop gap until 22-year old sensation and the organization’s top hitting prospect Taylor Trammel is Major League ready.
Sanchez was drafted in 2018 and has hit .336 so far in the lower level minor leagues. A shortstop by trade, he’s known for his athleticism and is one of baseball’s top rated shortstop prospects that also plays a solid second base. He’s 20 years old.
Contract wise, the Rays subtract $5.2 in payroll by adding Renfroe, who has 4 years of team control left and is pre-arb eligible. As for the Padres, they add $8M in Tommy Pham by arbitration projections. This is one of those rare trades that subtracted from a strength from both sides to fill a weakness.
PSE will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
The prospect heading West is Jake Cronenworth. Cronenworth, a shortstop and second baseman by trade, slashed .334/.429/.520 in 88 games for the Durham Bulls, Rays AAA affiliate, in 2019. He also pitched as an opener/reliever. However the Rays, they have a lot of better arms, and Willy Adames at shortstop longterm. Cronenworth, already 25, has proven his readiness, thus is expendable. For the Padres, he only bolsters their bullpen depth, as well as possibly manning second base in a platoon with veteran Ian Kinsler, as he finds his footing at the game’s premiere level. San Diego just recently dealt 2B youngster Luis Urias to the Milwaukee Brewers.
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