Two days after suffering an elbow injury in his first start with the Miami Marlins, Colin Rea is headed back to San Diego.
The Marlins announced Monday they traded Rea back to the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Luis Castillo.
Rea and Castillo were originally part of the deal that sent Andrew Cashner to Miami on Friday. Rea lasted just 3.1 innings in his first start with the Marlins before being pulled with an elbow sprain. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Rea was scheduled for an MRI Monday.
Results of that MRI have not been made available yet.
While it's fair to have a bit of buyer's remorse, this is nonetheless a borderline unprecedented occurrence. Rea would have had to pass a physical with the Marlins before his trade to Miami was made official. His injury wasn't the result of any malfeasance from the Padres, just bad timing.
"[Rea] was healthy...[Rea] made every start. [Rea] made every bullpen session, never saw a doctor," a Padres source told AJ Cassavell of MLB.com.
So why agree with the Marlins on rolling back the Rea-Castillo part of the trade? It seems the Padres never wanted to shop him in the first place, per Cassavell:
San Diego may have been able to strong-arm the Marlins into taking a lesser player back for Rea, but it's clear the Padres value him more than Castillo—elbow injury or not.
Rea, 26, is 5-5 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 2016. A former 12th-round pick in 2011, Rea has been solid overall in his first full MLB season but likely tops out as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. His FIP (4.61) is not discernibly different from his regular ERA, per FanGraphs, so it's not as though he's been getting unlucky. While he could improve a bit, he isn't going to suddenly ascend to superstardom as he closes in on age 27.
Castillo, meanwhile, is the fifth-best prospect in the Marlins' system, according to MLB.com. He's a 23-year-old righty who has nearly struck out one batter per inning in his minor league career and is in the midst of a breakout season in Single-A Jupiter.
The move seems highly curious from San Diego's perspective.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.