No one wanted to see starting pitcher Mat Latos traded away and I know we all still wish the Padres had a staff ace back at the top of the rotation.
When Latos was traded away on December 17, 2011 for first baseman Yonder Alonso, starter Edinson Volquez, catcher Yasmani Grandal and reliever Brad Boxberger, I wasn't totally sure how the trade would benefit or take away from the success of the team.
True Padres fans saw the writing on the wall for Anthony Rizzo after acquiring Alonso. Sure Rizzo needed to work on shortening his swing and still needed development before hitting the way he dominated in the minors, but the thought of losing such a potentially powerful bat in the middle of the lineup really bothered me at the time.
Looking back, however, the decision to trade Rizzo and keep Alonso was the right thing to do for the team. Alonso hit .273/.348/.393 with nine home runs, 39 doubles and 62 RBI in his first full season with the Padres and is really beginning to find his groove and make a nice name for himself in San Diego. Not only that, but he's still developing as a player and is just getting better the more he plays.
I was hoping the move to Petco would help Volquez re-find his 2008 form and prove that he could still be a solid contributor to a starting rotation. Sure he was no replacement for Latos, but he pitched relatively well for the Padres in 2012 with an 11-11 record, a 4.14 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 182.2 innings pitched. And though he led the league with 105 walks, it was surprising to see him pitch that well after horrendous seasons from 2009-2011. This year though, I'm not so sure what to expect out of him, but I guess it still is early in the season.
Grandal was the biggest surprise for me in this trade and turned out to be a fantastic replacement for Nick Hundley who had a horrific 2012 season after signing a three-year $9-million extension.
Grandal ended up hitting .297/.394/.469 with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 28 runs scored in 192 at-bats. And though he's still serving a 50-game suspension for a positive PED test, I'm excited to get him back in the lineup and am looking forward to watching him compete with Hundley for the starting catching job.
Boxberger is another guy that I'm excited to see back with the team after a fantastic 2012 season where he had a 2.60 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. And though he's currently pitching in Triple-A Tucson, I don't think it will be too long before we see him back in the pen.
So was trading Latos the right thing to do?
He had a very good season with the Reds in 2012 pitching 209.1 innings with a 14-4 record, a 3.48 ERA and 185 strikeouts. He's also looking pretty good this season and is with a team that could potentially win the National League Central.
But are those numbers worth having if the Padres didn't have the players they received in return?
I'm more than happy with the guys we received and am optimistically looking forward to seeing how they will continue to grow as the Padres reinvent their team.
And though I miss watching "Kid Gun" pitch in a Padres uniform, I'll gladly take Alonso, Grandal, Volquez and Boxberger instead.