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MLB Trade Rumors and News: Padres shake up league as they acquire Yu Darvish and Ha-seong Kim

The Padres are not messing around.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB Daily Dish is a daily feature we’re running here at MLBDD that rounds up roster-impacting news, rumors, and analysis. Have feedback or have something that should be the shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.

  • If you weren’t already convinced that the Padres were going to be a force to contend with in 2021, you probably are now after a frantic 24-36 hours from San Diego. They had already traded for Blake Snell and late yesterday, they swung a deal to land Yu Darvish from the Cubs in a deal that has reshaped the NL Central and NL West division races. The West looks like it could be really tough race between the Dodgers and Padres while the Central looks...well, like a division that no one wants to really try and win.
  • In addition to their forays into the trade market over the last couple of days, the Padres also made a splash on the international market as they landed the top South Korean bat on the market, Ha-seong Kim. The acquisition of Kim does lead to some roster/playing time questions, but the good kind where the team has a lot of good bats to choose from.
  • The Padres have acquired southpaw Blake Snell from Rays. In exchange for the 28-year old, San Diego will be sending a prospect laden package of Luis Patiño, Cole Wilcox, Francisco Mejía and Blake Hunt to Tampa Bay. Patiño is the Padres No. 3 prospect, as well as the No. 23 prospect in the MLB Pipeline. And with the tired and used up “Rays trade all their good players away blah blah”, maybe we can start looking towards how these prospects make the Rays a force to be reckoned with next season.
  • The Pirates have traded Josh Bell to Nationals. This was a great opportunity for the Nationals, a low risk / high reward deal that could put some spark back into the team. After a season that stands as the second biggest disaster in Washington in 2020, the Nationals are in flux with their main core of players. Adding a veteran slugger presence for the price of mid-level pitching is the right direction for the Nationals. Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe, the pitching of mention, will be heading to Pittsburgh as the other half of this deal.
  • The White Sox are set to sign 23-year-old outfielder Yoelqui Céspedes, a Cuban defector who is the half-brother of longtime major-leaguer Yoenis Céspedes, to a deal with a bonus of near $2 million, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. Céspedes is ranked as the top international prospect in the world by MLB Pipeline.
  • Former major-league outfielder Sam Fuld, who as recently as last month was considered one of baseball’s hottest managerial prospects, has instead decided to pursue a front-office career, accepting the Phillies’ GM job on Tuesday. Fuld, who will work under new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, is the second former big-leaguer to become a GM this offseason, following pitcher-turned-Rangers-GM Chris Young.
  • Howie Kendrick never really formed into a full-fledged star in baseball, but he was highly valued around the league as an important supporting piece on competing teams. Towards the end of his career, the Dodgers and Nationals sought him out with the Nationals getting the biggest reward thanks to a strong postseason performance from Kendrick that helped Washington clinch a World Series title. Monday, Kendrick decided to retire from baseball after 15 seasons. While the shortened season gave Howie a bit of pause as to whether he truly wanted to hang up his cleats, it sounds like sticking with his initial impulse was the correct one. Enjoy retirement, Howie... you have earned it.
  • The Rays had themselves quite the run in 2020 all the way to the World Series and they are bringing back a familiar face from that run as Mike Zunino is returning on a one year deal with an option for 2022. Zunino’s option will depend on how much playing time he ends up getting next year and, given that he had a pretty bad 2020 season, that is very much up in the air. However, Zunino does have power upside at the plate and the Rays are very light on catching options at the moment, but for $3 million...they could probably do worse.
  • The Giants continued to make sneaky interesting signings when they signed Anthony DeSclafani to a one year deal. For $6 million, the Giants get a pitcher who has had a lot of promise, but has been hampered by injuries and the fact that he has had to play in the Reds’ home ballpark/band box. 2020 was a down year for him, so this is the Giants buying low on a guy that could turn into an asset if they can keep him healthy and get him back to the form he had a few years ago.
  • Jerry Dipoto is back at it again. The Mariners GM, well known for his willingness to make a trade with any team at any time, made his first deal of the offseason last Tuesday, acquiring closer Rafael Montero from the Rangers in exchange for 17-year-old pitching prospect Jose Corniell and a player to be named later. Montero, who spent his first four seasons as a swingman for the Mets, has broken out over two seasons as a full-time reliever for the Rangers, posting a 3.09 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 11 walks and eight saves in 46.2 innings between 2019-20.
  • At least a few MLB owners believe the start of next year’s spring training should be delayed until after players and team personnel receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. It should be interesting to see how heated this debate gets between ownership and players, who almost certainly will see this stance as another ploy by the league to cut salaries for a second straight season.
  • Cleveland’s professional baseball club has been moving towards a complete rebranding for quite a while now. After ditching its retro logo designs that were less than enlightened as well as getting rid of the Chief Wahoo mascot in recent years, the team has now made the move to remove ‘Indians’ from their name altogether. Interestingly, there is no word yet as to what the new team name will be, so its probably best to reserve total judgment until we know what we are going to be calling the team.
  • The Mets have signed catcher James McCann to a four-year deal. The Mets are looking to ride the offensive wave that McCann rode in on last season: a healthy slash line of .289/.360/.536 over 111 plate appearances. He’ll be the new starting catcher for the Mets, and hopefully for their sake can provide some much needed consistency behind the plate.
  • A new slugger needs a new general manager to play under. The Mets have hired Jared Porter as their new GM, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman via Twitter. The former Arizona Diamondbacks assistant GM had his name tossed around in various general manager searches this offseason. Before his position with the Diamondbacks, he was the director of professional scouting for the Cubs for two seasons and held that same title with the Red Soxfor three years. The contract will keep Porter in Queens for four years, working closely with Sandy Alderson to tighten up the club’s baseball operations department.
  • The Phillies have hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, letting the league know that they’re still here to compete. It will be interesting to see what Dombrowski will do with a team that is already running on empty when it comes to top prospects.
  • One of the more under the radar baseball stories from 2020 has been the lack of an agreement between MiLB and MLB regarding the relationship between the two as well as which teams were actually going to be a part of the league’s talent development pipeline. We already knew that there was going to be a culling and some of that was previewed with the composition of some independent leagues and the draft league including some former minor league affiliates. However, the league finally sent invitations out to 119 minor league clubs which, when it is all said and done, will be a significant reduction in minor league teams over what we saw in 2019.
  • Adam Eaton had a terrible 2020 season, posting a career-worst .226/.285/.384 slash line with -6 defensive runs saved in right field for the Nationals. But it wasn’t that long ago that he was a hot commodity — it was just four winters ago that the White Sox shipped him off to Washington in exchange for three upper echelon pitching prospects, most notably Lucas Giolito. Four years later, his former team will pay a healthy price to see if the 32-year-old outfielder has anything left in the tank, as the White Sox signed Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract with an $8.5 million club option and $1 million buyout for 2022.
  • The Royals have been the most active team on the free agent market so far this offseason, re-signing reliever Greg Holland while also signing outfielder Michael A. Taylor, lefty Mike Minor, and first baseman Carlos Santana, who inked a two-year, $17 million deal with Kansas City. Santana, who turns 35 in April, has spent 10 of his 11 major-league seasons with the Indians and has tortured the Royals over the years, posting a .953 OPS in 663 plate appearances against Kansas City with a 1.077 OPS in 334 PAs at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals will hope Santana can recreate that same magic now that The K is his home ballpark.
  • 28-year-old right-hander Matt Wisler was largely considered a failed prospect heading into the 2020 season, but after altering his approach, scrapping his curveball and changeup and switching to throwing almost exclusively sliders, Wisler had a breakout season out of the Twins’ bullpen, posting a 1.07 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP over 25.1 innings. Minnesota obviously didn’t believe it was worth the cost to see if he could sustain his success, as they non-tendered him, but he quickly found a new home, signing a one-year, $1.15 million deal with the Giants.
  • While we did see some roster moves ahead of the non-tender deadline that we have already noted, the deadline itself is where we see the bulk of moves made and yesterday was no exception. While the non-tender deadline wasn’t quite as severe as some thought it would be, there was still a whole bunch of new free agents added to the pool. Our own Andersen Pickard put together a tracker with notes on both all of the guys non-tendered as well as those who did, in fact, end up getting tendered deals who were in limbo.
  • The Rangers announced that former catcher and Gold Glove third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa will take over as their starting shortstop in 2021. Elvis Andrus, the team’s starting shortstop for the last 12 seasons, will transition to a utility infielder role.
  • The Royals have been busy this offseason. After locking up Mike Minor to help solidify their rotation, Kansas City turned their attention to the outfield, signing Michael Taylor to a one year deal. While Taylor has been hit or miss on offense, he is a quality defender in the outfield... a quality that the Royals have historically valued highly.
  • The Marlins were one of the bigger stories from the 2020 season both because of their improbable playoff run and also because they nearly torpedoed the whole MLB season thanks to a COVID outbreak that spread throughout their roster. Now, the team has continued to overhaul its roster, acquiring reliever Adam Cimber from the Indians for cash and immediately designating their 2020 Opening Day starter, Jose Urena, for assignment. He was likely an upcoming casualty of the non-tender deadline anyway, but it’s still wild to see it happen nonetheless.
  • While young starters Max Fried and Ian Anderson showed great hope for the future, one could argue that the Braves’ downfall in 2020 was the inconsistency in their rotation. They’ve made multiple moves to boost their starting pitching in 2021, first signing Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal, then bringing back old friend Charlie Morton on a one-year, $15 million contract. While Smyly and Morton both carry some level of risk, it’s hard to go wrong with one-year contracts, and if Smyly and Morton are at their best, the Braves’ rotation could return to being one of the strengths of the team next season.
  • Who would’ve guessed that the Rays would consider trading Blake Snell before the end of his five-year, $50 million contract? (Numerous hands in the room go up.) Tampa is considering trading its ace, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, in order to — you guessed it — create financial flexibility as his salary increases from $7 million to $10.5 million in 2021. With all due respect to Trevor Bauer, this news makes Snell the most desirable pitcher with a realistic change of changing teams this offseason.
  • There has been quite a bit of re-arranging across the league in terms of the leaderships of various front offices. That trend continued when the Brewers promoted Matt Arnold, who had served as the team’s assistant general manager, to the posts of senior vice president and general manager. Arnold had been a candidate for several top jobs around the league and the Brewers made sure that he wasn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
  • Mets second baseman Robinson Canó tested positive for a banned substance for the second time and has been suspended for the entire 2021 season as a result. His subsequent silence on the matter has been, well, deafening and telling.
  • After nine seasons as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, including one that resulted in a drought-ending World Series victory, Theo Epstein is stepping down and says he’s going to take a break from baseball (though that hasn’t stopped some from connecting him to the Mets and Phillies front office openings). He’ll be replaced by his longtime right-hand man, Jed Hoyer, and the Cubs will have an opportunity to install another executive (perhaps one of their highly-regarded VPs, Jason McLeod or Dan Kantrovitz?) as GM if they so choose.
  • A time honored tradition each and every year is the release of the Hall of Fame ballot and having the internet shout about who is and who isn’t worthy of induction. That process began yet again last month as the 2021 ballot was released. With the list of newly eligible players being somewhat underwhelming, it will be interesting to see which players see a boost in their chances.