Well, it took a couple years – four-and-a-half, to be exact – but the Padres have finally come full circle after agreeing to a seven-player deal with the Miami Marlins on Friday afternoon. The circle’s radius? Hard-throwing, injury-plagued right-hander Andrew Cashner, who was acquired from the Cubs for some slugging first baseman that goes by the name of Anthony Rizzo, was the deal’s centerpiece as he takes his talents to South Beach – along with fellow starter Colin Rea and reliever Tayron Guerrero. In return, the perpetually rebuilding Padres acquire top prospect – and slugging first baseman – Josh Naylor, former top prospect Jarred Cosart, Luis Castillo, and the surgically-repaired right elbow of Carter Capps, who is still on the mend.
The move is quite simple for both teams: the overachieving Marlins went looking for some sturdy rotation help behind the top three of Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, and Wei-Yin Chen, who’s peripherals are much better than rotation mate Tom Koehler; As for the Padres, well, they’re pretty much shipping off everything not nailed down in their attempt to rebuild – again.
In Cashner, Miami acquired one of the most enigmatic arms in baseball. Blessed with an electric arm and the injury track record of a swatted fly, Cashner’s average fastball velocity, 94.0 mph, is the 19th highest among all arms with at least 70 innings in 2016. Despite that, though, he’s never missed a tremendous amount of bats since converting to a full time starting gig in 2013 – if that’s what you want to call it; he’s averaged just 161 innings over the last three seasons. He’s a power arm that might be lightning in a bottle for the Fish down the stretch, but he’s probably not worth more than a win, maybe 1.5 wins down the stretch.
Fellow right-hander Colin Rea, who was one of the more overhyped prospects coming into the season after a solid six-game debut in 2015, could provide some value in terms chewing useless minutes as his control has wavered and his long ball rates have spiked.
And then there’s Tayron Guerrero, a complete and utter wild card in every sense. Armed with a mid-90s fastball, Guerrero’s always missed an impressive amount of bats in the minors. The problem: he’s averaged about six walks every nine innings. Now 25, there’s basically no hope that something clicks in the 6-foot-8 behemoth.
As for the Padres, well, they acquired two very intriguing prospects in Josh Naylor and pitcher Luis Castillo.
Naylor, whom I ranked as the club’s second best prospect heading into the year, has had a solid first full season in professional ball. After hitting .327/.352/.418 in a 25-game stint in the Gulf Coast following his selection with the 12th overall pick last June, Naylor’s batted a slightly better than average .265/.314/.429 in the Sally in 2016, with 24 doubles, a pair of triples, and nine homeruns.
He’s shown far more power – with a lot of those doubles expected to turn into homeruns in the coming years – than he did during his debut. He makes a lot of contact for a potential power hitter, though his patience remains mediocre at best.
Given his lack of defensive value, I’d estimate that he’s a potential 2.5-win player down the line.
The other interesting name is wiry hurler Luis Castillo, who I’m pegged as a potential breakout candidate in the book.
And, well, he’s certainly been impressive in a second go-round in High Class A: in 100.0 innings, he’s fanned 21.7% and walked just 3.9% of the total hitters he’s faced en route to tallying a tidy 2.34 FIP. He’s a bit old for the level and he’s also been here before, but he could be a nice, useful backend starter in the next couple of years.
The rest of the bunch:
Capps was incredibly dominant last season, posting a 43.2% strikeout-to-walk percentage before his elbow troubles. He’s a fantastic buy-low gamble by A.J. Preller.
And Cosart, well, he’s simply never lived up to his inflated prospect status. Still, though, he could be called in on a pinch to start. Maybe he turns into a nice relief option?