For the second time in three off seasons, prized 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers is the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade, this time moving to the aggressive San Diego Padres in a three-team trade involving the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals. The Rays, once again in retooling mode, trade Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan, and pitching prospects Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo to the Padres for catcher Rene Rivera, and prospects, pitcher Burch Smith, first baseman Jake Bauers, pitcher Joe Ross and a player two be named later (expected to be the 13th pick in June’s draft, shortstop Trea Turner). Ross and Turner go to the Nationals, who send outfielder Steve Souza and lefty prospect Travis Ott to complete the Rays haul. So who came out on top? Once again, it’s time for the SportsZone Trade Grades:


The Padres have turned into one of the bigger stories of the off-season, as they are turning into heavy buyers to improve what has been a stagnant offense over the last four years. They’ve also done it smart; early in the off-season they shopped starting pitchers Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross. But rather than trade their major league rotation, they have taken advantage of their wealth of pitching prospects to improve their major league roster. Smith and Ross are the big names leaving their organization, but neither would have helped the big league team this season unless heavy injuries struck. In obtaining Myers, coming off a lost season due to a wrist injury, they have added one of the top players under 25 in the game; the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year who hit .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBI, while scoring 50 runs in 335 at bats. With the addition of Kemp, along with the continued development of Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonzo, the Padres have the makings of a formidable lineup for the first time in years. And they did it without trading top catching prospect Austin Hedges, who presumably can be eased into a big-league starting role with the addition of Hanigan, who had a solid 2013. If the Kemp trade doesn’t fall apart, the Padres just added two big bats to their lineup for a fair cost.


The Nationals got involved in this trade for the sole purpose of looking towards their future. Souza is good enough to turn into a solid major league outfielder right now, but with Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Jayson Werth all under contract they didn’t have a place for him. They used their strength to hedge their bets for the possibility of losing Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister to free agency after next season. Turner, who cannot be formally announced in this trade until he has been under major league contract for one full year, is the prize here. The 21-year-old hit .323 with five homers and 23 stolen bases through 321 plate appearances, across single-A and looks primed to move through the system quickly. Ross, also 21, was San Diego’s eighth best prospect as ranked, and could figure into the Nationals’ rotation if injuries strike this season. Overall this is a solid move by Washington to help fortify their future.


New Vice President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman continues Tampa Bay’s tradition of being among the best at retooling his roster, not just for this season, but for two or three years down the road. Losing Myers will be tough, but Souza could put up similar numbers in right field, and is under team control for six more years. He broke out in a big way in 2014, hitting .345 with 18 homers and 77 RBI in 357 minor league at bats. The other prospect who could impact the roster this season is Burch Smith, who made his debut with the Padres in 2013 before injuries wrecked his 2014. He is expected to compete for a rotation spot behind Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, and Chris Archer. Bauers and Olt are two 19-year-olds who Tampa Bay will hope to develop into big league contributors over the next few years. Overall, it’s a solid return; turning Myers into two pieces that could contribute to the big league roster this season and beyond, while continuing to restock their farm system for the long haul. And it continues the return for James Shields, who was originally traded for Myers and three others, two of which are still in the system, and one of which (Jake Odorizzi) could be the teams’ number four starter this season.

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