The Padres took advantage of the Nationals’ fire sale — one that has seen them ship off Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber, and reportedly Max Scherzer and Trea Turner over the last 24 hours — and swung a late-night deal for veteran reliever Daniel Hudson. Pitching prospect Mason Thompson and shortstop Jordy Barley head back to Washington in return:
Hudson, 34, should give another boost to a Padres bullpen that already has a majors-best 2.97 ERA and features a pair of dominant late-inning options in Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz. Hudson has been rather unpredictable during his 12-season major league career; at times he’s looked like one of the worst pitchers in baseball, and as recently as last year he had a 6.10 ERA (despite good peripheral numbers in 21 appearances).
He’s been one of the most reliable relievers in the majors this season, though, just as he was when he served as the primary closer for the World Series-winning Nationals in 2019. Through 31 games, he has a 2.20 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, 48 strikeouts, and just seven walks in 32.2 innings. While the Padres’ rotation hasn’t been quite as dominant as many expected entering the season, the presence of Hudson, Pomeranz, and Melancon in the late innings should essentially turn games into six-inning contests for San Diego’s opponents.
Thompson, a 6-foot-7, 223-pound 23-year-old, has had an up-and-down season in Triple-A, posting a 5.74 ERA with 24 strikeouts and eight walks in 26.2 innings of relief. He did get his first major league opportunity earlier this summer and posted a 3.00 ERA in four relief appearances, allowing four hits while striking out two and walking one over three innings. With the way the Nationals have torn apart their bullpen over the last day, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington call him up to the big leagues.
Barley, 21, has seen time at both middle infield positions for Low-A Lake Elsinore this year, committing 27 errors in 43 games at shortstop and three in 15 starts at second. He was hitting .240/.333/.388 with eight homers, 28 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases in 61 games.