Following a slow progression over the past 24 hours, the Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, and Washington Nationals have finally agreed in principle to a massive swap involving 11 players in total, with outfielder Wil Myers heading to San Diego as the centerpiece of the deal. The trade, which was first reported to be complete by ESPN's Jim Bowden, is still pending physicals, but it's safe to say that the complex nature of this trade and the shear magnitude of players involved makes this one of the more intriguing deals of the offseason.
The trade breaks down as follows:
Tampa Bay Rays
|Rays send||Rays receive|
|OF Wil Myers (to Padres)||C Rene Rivera (from Padres)|
|LHP Jose Castillo (to Padres)||RHP Burch Smith (from Padres)|
|RHP Gerardo Reyes (to Padres)||OF Steven Souza (from Nationals)|
|C Ryan Hanigan (to Padres)||1B Jake Bauers (from Padres)|
|LHP Travis Ott (from Nationals)
|Nationals send||Nationals receive|
|OF Steven Souza (to Rays)||RHP Joe Ross (from Padres via Rays)|
|LHP Travis Ott (to Rays)||SS Trea Turner (as PTBNL from Padres via Rays)|
San Diego Padres
|Padres send||Padres receive|
|C Rene Rivera (to Rays)||OF Wil Myers (from Rays|
|RHP Burch Smith (to Rays)||LHP Jose Castillo (to Padres)|
|1B Jake Bauers (to Rays)||RHP Gerardo Reyes (to Padres)|
|RHP Joe Ross (to Nationals via Rays)||C Ryan Hanigan (to Padres)|
|SS Trea Turner (to Nationals as PTBNL via Rays)||
For the Rays, this move is a clear step back in the short term, as they lose a key component of their lineup and one of the brighter 24-year-olds in the game in Myers. But what Tampa Bay loses in quality, they sure make up for in quantity, acquiring a quartet of prospects in Souza, Smith, Bauers, and Ott. Both Souza (Fangraphs' Kiley McDaniel recently compared Souza to Matt Joyce, who the club traded away just yesterday) and Smith are near big-league ready, having made brief cameos in the majors last year. The reigning International League MVP, Souza will likely slot in as Myers' replacement, and is somewhat cheaper with one extra year of control. If his numbers from the minors can translate in some capacity to the majors, then the Rays could end up making out quite well with this deal.
Bauers seems to be the real wild card for the Rays here, as a smooth-fielding first baseman with an advanced bat for his age (19). Meanwhile, Rivera will supplant the outgoing Hanigan, giving the club a potential upgrade behind the plate. The 31-year-old Rivera broke out in 2014, hitting for a 117 OPS+, while posting a 3.1 WAR thanks to some very strong defense. He is widely regarded as a strong pitch framer, and is under club control for the next three seasons.
The Nationals seem to be the runaway winners of this trade as the clear third party. Washington gives up Souza and Ott, neither of whom are considered elite names, and receives two potentially top 100 prospects in Ross and Turner. The 21-year-old Ross is the younger brother of Padres' starter Tyson Ross, and was a first round pick in 2011. He possesses strong raw stuff, but is erratic in his command, which could limit him to a relief role rather than the number three starter upside he has if all goes well. Turner, assuming he is the player to be named later as expected, is possibly the most intriguing name in the entire deal, as he was taken 13th overall by the Padres just six months ago. The shortstop had a strong pro debut, hitting .323/.406/.448 with 23 steals in 69 games split between Low and High-A. Mcdaniel credits Turner as the best prospect in the deal, noting a strong hit tool and potentially average play at short to go along with plus-plus speed. He could wind up being Washington's long-term solution at shortstop if the incumbent Ian Desmond departs after next season, though Turner isn't actually eligible to join the Nationals' organization until June 13th, exactly a year after signing his professional contract.
For the Padres, the outcome of this deal hinges entirely on Myers, particularly the health of his wrist, as Yahoo's Jeff Passan points out. The Padres could very well be acquiring a future perennial All-Star under club control for the next five years, however, Myers, acquired two years ago in the infamous James Shields trade, has been a mixed bag early in his career. He hit a robust .293/.354/.478 with a 131 wRC+ and 2.4 WAR in 2013, en route to the AL Rookie of the Year award. Expected to progress in 2014, he did the exact opposite, hitting just a .222/.294/.320 with a 78 wRC+ in an 87-game injury plagued season. The Padres will be betting on him to rebound to the talent level he displayed in 2013, and while he has immense upside, the wrist issue provides for plenty of risk.
On the other end of the catching swap, San Diego will receive Ryan Hanigan, who the Rays acquired and signed to an extension just last winter. He is more expensive than Rivera, with $8 million owed to him over the next two years (with a $3.75 million team option and $800,000 buyout for 2017), but comes with a longer track record of production. The 34-year-old is, like Rivera, an excellent pitch framer with strong on-base abilities. He hit .218/.318/.324 with a 1.2 WAR in 84 games last season.
San Diego has now completely overhauled their catching situation this offseason, with Yasmani Grandal moving to Los Angeles in the Matt Kemp deal. The jettisoning of Rivera and Grandal could be viewed as the club setting up a clear path for top catching prospect Austin Hedges.
The Padres also receive a pair of young arms in Reyes and Castillo. Reyes is likely headed for a possible bullpen role down the line, with the 18-year-old Castillo being the more talented of the two. Castillo was signed out of Venezuela for $1.55 million in 2013, but wound up injured for a majority of the 2014 season. The hard-throwing southpaw has a strong fastball, but weak offspeed offerings at the moment. Due to his pedigree and talent, he should be an interesting name to watch in the coming years.