The Mariners and Padres made the biggest deal of the 2020 season to date late Sunday night, agreeing on a seven-player trade that boosts the Padres’ roster with hot-hitting catcher Austin Nola and will net Seattle a top-100 prospect in outfielder Taylor Trammell. The full trade, elements of which were broken by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin, ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, will also send prospects Luis Torrens, Ty France, and Andres Muñoz to Seattle, with veteran relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla joining Nola in heading to San Diego:
Deal as it stands, per sources and reports from @Dennistlin, @JeffPassan and @RyanDivish: Taylor Trammell, Luis Torrens, Ty France and Andre Muñoz from Padres to Mariners for Austin Nola, Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 31, 2020
While Trammell may be the biggest name in the trade despite not having spent a day in the big leagues, the most coveted player appears to have been Nola, a late-blooming 30-year-old catcher who debuted last season and has an impressive .306/.373/.531 slash line with five homers in 110 plate appearances this year. Heading into play Sunday, he was tied for the major league lead in fWAR (1.2) among catchers. With the Padres also acquiring veteran backstop Jason Castro from the Angels on Sunday and perhaps still hanging onto one of their incumbent catchers, whether it be Austin Hedges or Francisco Mejía, Nola’s ability to play all over the field should come in handy as they look to keep his bat in the lineup. He has major league experience at every position besides shortstop, center field, and pitcher.
The 22-year-old Trammell, meanwhile, joins a new organization for the second straight summer after being dealt from Cincinnati to San Diego last July in a trade that sent Trevor Bauer to the Reds and Franmil Reyes to the Indians. His prospect star has faded a bit after he hit .234/.340/.349 with 10 homers between two Double-A stops last season, but he’s still a consensus top-100 prospect with a first-round pedigree — he was taken 35th overall by the Reds in 2016.
The 24-year-old Torrens, who was selected from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft prior to the 2017 season, spent the entire next year in the big leagues and posted a .163/.243/.203 slash line over 139 plate appearances. Once he completed the necessary Rule 5 protocols and became a permanent member of the Padres organization, he returned to the minors for two full seasons, hitting .280/.320/.406 at High-A Lake Elsinore in 2018 and .300/.373/.500 at Double-A Amarillo last year. He had spent the past two weeks with the Padres’ big-league club and still shows potential as a big-league backup catcher, though he’ll have to get it together sooner than later with this being his final option year.
France, 26, was having a great season in limited big-league playing time and had a dominant 2019 season in Triple-A, but as a natural corner infielder, there clearly wasn’t a future for him in San Diego with Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer signed to long-term deals. France, who is hitting .309/.377/.491 with two homers in 61 plate appearances this year, should have more of an opportunity for everyday playing time in Seattle.
Muñoz, 21, is rehabbing this season after having Tommy John surgery in March. He debuted at 20 years old last summer and had an impressive rookie season out of the Padres’ bullpen, posting a 3.91 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP, 30 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a .188 opponent batting average over 22 appearances (23 innings). He’s worked almost exclusively as a reliever in the minor leagues and appears destined to stick in the bullpen long-term as a major-leaguer.
While the Padres are making these moves with an eye toward improving their chances in 2020, these moves should also boost their roster for years to come. As Divish pointed out on Twitter, every player they acquired Sunday night is controllable for the foreseeable future:
While the Padres are obviously making moves to "go for it" this season. All three players they acquired have multiple years of club control. Nola and Adams both make the league minimum next year while Altavilla goes to arbitration— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 31, 2020