The San Diego Padres made some noise on the trade front, acquiring left-hander Alex Torres and pitching prospect Jesse Hahn from the Tampa Bay Rays for utility man Logan Forsythe, right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger, pitching prospects Matt Andriese and Matt Lollis and second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum. The trade was reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish and later confirmed by the Padres' official Twitter feed.
Torres, 26, is coming off a strong 2013 season, going 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 58 innings out of the bullpen. He averaged 9.62 strikeouts, 3.10 walks and .16 homeruns per nine innings on the season.
|Lefties (80 AB)||.175||.241||.225||31||5||0|
|Righties (121 AB)||.149||.246||.223||31||15||1|
As seen in the table above, righties and lefties alike had struggles against Torres. Righties had a little more success, walking at a higher rate and producing the lone home run Torres allowed all season.
Some regression should be expected, as Torres posted a very low BABIP of .221 and left runners on base 80.2 percent of the time, via Fangraphs.
Still, he is moving from one pitcher-friendly yard (Tropicana Field) to maybe the most pitcher friendly at Petco Park. Barring control problems rearing its head, Torres should be fine in 2014.
Torres came up through the minors as a starter, and the Padres will have the flexibility down the road to stretch him out again if needed. However, he may be suited best out of the pen long term. Torres pitched as a starter full time from 2008-2011, averaging a K/9 of 9.50, but struggled with his control averaging a BB/9 of 4.75.
Also coming over from Tampa Bay is the right-hander Hahn.
Hahn, 24, pitched well in High-A Charlotte, going 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 67 innings.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus ranked Hahn as his sixth-best prospect in the Rays system, and he profiled him in his Rays version of "Prospects Will Break Your Heart":
Strengths: Excellent size/strength; big leverage; fastball is meaty pitch that can work in the mid-90s; nasty bore into right-handed bats; hard to lift; true power pitch; good feel for mid-80s changeup; good arm-side action; deep curveball flashes plus in the low-mid-70s; shows harder breaking ball with more tilt in the low 80s; good overall feel for pitching/good command profile.
Weaknesses: 24-years-old and yet to reach Double-A level; can overthrow at times; good control at present, but command within the zone is still loose; some sources think delivery and arm action better suited for the bullpen.
The Padres did very well in this trade to acquire high-upside pitchers while not losing any of their top prospects in the process—though they did deal in bulk, so there’s always a chance that some of the players pan out for the Rays.
With Hahn, the hope is that he continues his progression in the minors and stays healthy—he has never made it through a season unscathed.
We will find out down the road if Torres moves back to the rotation, but in the present, he should continue his success as a setup man in a strong bullpen that also features Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street.