We don’t know what the results are going to be because at the end of the day, you still have to play the games and they still have to deal with the LA Dodgers in the NL West, but no one can say that the San Diego Padres aren’t doing everything in their power to go for it in 2021.
In some respects, we saw this coming when they threw a bunch of prospects at Cleveland in order to pry Mike Clevinger away from them at the trade deadline last season. Sure, that didn’t work out like the Padres wanted because Clevinger ended up needing Tommy John surgery, but San Diego’s intent was clear: they weren’t messing around.
However, the aforementioned injury to Clevinger and some steps back from guys like Chris Paddack made the Padres’ rotation a very big area of need. Well, if you thought that the team that had already added Blake Snell and Yu Darvish this offseason was content with their moves...you would be wrong.
The San Diego Padres are in agreement on a deal to acquire right-hander Joe Musgrove from the Pittsburgh Pirates, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2021
The trade for Musgrove is pending medical reviews, per sources, and will be sending a large package of prospects back to the Pirates. Hudson Head, a well-regarded center fielder, is expected to be among the group heading to Pittsburgh.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2021
We don’t have all of the details yet as this article goes up, but we can make some inferences that this is a quantity over quality deal when it comes to Pittsburgh’s return. That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting good players, but they are unlikely to be getting big name prospects back for two years of Joe Musgrove in a “large” package of prospects. We shall see.
For San Diego, they get a quality, middle of the rotation arm in Musgrove who saw both his strikeout and his walk rate spike in 2020. While some national writers are very erroneously calling him an ace, he is very solid arm which, with the other arms they have acquired and the lineup of young studs they already had, is all the Padres really need from him. In 39.2 innings last season, Musgrove posted a 3.86 ERA and 3.42 FIP.
For Pittsburgh, this is just another chapter where the Pirates had to sell off a player because they can’t or won’t invest in their payroll. Musgrove isn’t some gran cornerstone piece they are letting get away, but with how iffy their player development has been of late combined with their self-imposed financial limitations, it may be a while before Pirates’ baseball is going to be...well....competitive. It is worth keeping an eye on what the Pirates do end up getting back in total. Hudson Head is a raw, but very toolsy outfield prospect that San Diego paid a bunch overslot to sign in the third round of the 2019 draft, so he could end up being something special. However, San Diego is also very smart and one should be a tad suspicious if they were willing to let a guy with that kind of talent go.