The Twins sent Phil Hughes, cash, and a draft choice to the Padres for a low level catching prospect essentially to save some of the money on Hughes’ deal.
Here’s a closer look at how the teams made out.
San Diego Padres, Grade: A+
Receive: Phil Hughes, cash, Competitive balance pick #74
The Padres are receiving what is basically a draft pick to take on dead money. Phil Hughes started off his tenure in Minnesota so well in 2014, and showed some potential in 2015. However he has been downright awful since the start of 2016 as injuries have derailed his once promising career.
Things have hit a new rock bottom this year as Hughes has a pair of starts and five relief appearances totaling 12 innings. In that short sample he has posted an ERA of 6.75 with a WHIP of 1.58, and it’s clear by watching him that his stuff isn’t the same.
Things got so bad that Hughes was recently designated for assignment. Hughes is owed $13M this year, as well as next year and that’s a considerable amount for a team that doesn’t typically spend heavily.
So when the Twins had a chance to deal Hughes and free up $7.5M in payroll for a team that isn’t totally out of the playoff picture they jumped at the chance. Of course that doesn’t come cheap, and the Twins were forced to attach their competitive balance draft pick, #74 overall, as well as the $812,200 slot value in the bonus pool to free themselves of $7.5M.
This is a strong draft class, and its especially strong in the 50-150 range. The Padres are spending $7.5M on a very valuable draft selection, as well as added flexibility within their bonus pool.
For a team which is already willing to manipulate their bonus pools to target the best talent they can get, this is another weapon with almost as much value as the pick itself.
Then there’s a non-zero chance that a change of scene could help Hughes get back on track. While I wouldn’t bet on this happening, it’s never something to count out as an extra added bonus.
Just to get a high pick in this year’s draft and added bonus pool space for the simple cost of $7.5M and a prospect deep down the organizational ladder is a home run for the Friars.
Minnesota Twins, Grade: C
Receive: Janigson Villalobos
It’s easy to say I don’t like the trade for the Twins, but that $7.5M that they are saving could come in big later this year or even next year. The Twins have battled through some key injuries like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, as well as seen key contributors not quite at their best like Buxton and Brian Dozier.
If the Twins can get healthy and get their players on track, there is definitely a window open for them to get back into the race in the wildcard. They could use that extra $7.5M to make a run. Or they could just wait until the offseason to re-invest that money into the club and hope their young club can turn things around in 2019.
The Twins also received a very young catching prospect in the deal- Janigson Villalobos. Villalobos is a catcher at just 5’9” and 195 pounds, but the Venezualan native just turned 21 years old earlier this month and had success in the Arizona League last season. Despite his height Villalobos has a solid build for a catcher.
Last year in 27 games for the AZL Padres, Villalobos hit .275/.367/.388 with seven doubles and a triple. He struck out 23 times in his 98 plate appearances, but did draw 14 walks. Defensively he was credited with throwing out 11 of 36 runners who tried to steal a base.
Villalobos is what he is- a pure lottery ticket. He’s not a guy who has been talked about too much, but that isn’t unexpected when the Padres are so deep with young Latin American prospects far from the big leagues.
I’m giving the Twins a C grade for now, but it could change based on how they use their new found payroll freedom.