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Padres, Royals make trade

The Padres swapped a toolsy outfielder for a situational reliever

Cincinnati Reds v San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals made a trade yesterday, with San Diego sending toolsy outfielder Franchy Cordero and pitching prospect Ronald Bolanos to the Royals for lefty reliever Tim Hill, per reports. I believe this is just the second trade that has happened since MLB cranked back up this summer, with both trades involving the Padres.

This is kind of a weird trade, because the Padres generally collect toolsy outfielders, not trade them away, and if A.J. Preller has decided it is time to move on from a toolsy outfielder then his value is likely at its nadir. Cordero, who turns 26 in September, is big, fast, has a great arm, and has some of the most impressive raw power you’ll see. He also strikes out a ton — he has a career .240/.306/.431 slash line in 273 career plate appearances, with 24 walks against 106 Ks. That’s a 38.8% K rate — not something you can do and have success in the majors, generally speaking.

Cordero can play all three outfield positions, and seemed like, with Manuel Margot having been dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays (man, that seems like it happened years ago, doesn’t it?) this offseason, he would be getting significant time in center. Instead, the Royals will now get to see if they can get his contact issues under control.

Also going to the Royals is Ronald Bolanos, a 23 year old righthander who split the 2020 season between high-A, AA and the majors. Bolanos signed for $2.25 million out of Cuba in 2016, and was the Padres’ #13 prospect per Baseball America coming into the season. He’s one of those guys who could be a starter if he improves his command, and if not, could be a useful reliever.

The return for those two guys is lighter than you would expect. Tim Hill is a 30 year old lefthanded pitcher who was a 32nd round draft pick of the Royals out of Bacone College in 2014. He spent 2018 in the majors with the Royals, putting up a 4.53 ERA in 45.2 IP over 70 games, and split the 2019 season between the majors and AAA, putting up a 3.63 ERA in 39.2 IP over 46 games while in the bigs. He’s got year-plus of service time, so he’s cheap and under team control for as long as he’s likely to be useful, but he’s also an older situational lefty with significant platoon splits whose value would seem to be depressed by the new 3 batter minimum rule.

In any case, I wanted to do this post at least in part so I could say I think of this every time I see or hear Franchy Cordero’s name: