Padres Trade Street for Prospects

Taylor Lindsey

Last night the Padres dealt their major league closer Huston Street and his High-A counterpart Trevor Gott for a pair of middle infield prospects, Taylor Lindsey and Jose Rondon, and two pitchers, R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris.

What The Padres Got: At first glance this is very good. Three of the four prospects they received back are in the Top 30 of the Angels farm system according to Baseball America. The bad news is that the Angels also ranked dead last of all major league teams in minor league talent rankings by the same publication for the second consecutive year.

Lindsey, 22, was BA’s top prospect going into 2014 is a left-handed hitting second baseman who is limited to second because of a subpar arm and a former number one pick in 2010 out of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In five minor league seasons he has a career line of .289/.340/.445 and was hitting .247/.323/.400 this year at Triple A Salt Lake City, a hitter’s park. WIth Howie Kendrick at second for the Halos, he was blocked.

Rondon was signed by the Angels when he was only 16 out of Venezuela and at 20 may have the most upside of any player in the deal. Ranked the #12 prospect in the Angels’ organization Rondon, 20, was hitting .327/.362/.418 for Inland Empire in the Cal League, with much better numbers on the road (.387) than at home (.271). Baseball America questioned if he has the quickness to stay at short or may be better suited for second.

R.J. Alverez,23, had a 0.33 ERA in 21 games with the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League. Coming into the year he was the #4 prospect after being taken in the fourth round out of Florida Atlantic University in the 2012 draft. This season he has the type of numbers that you look for in a relief pitcher 38 strikeouts in 27 innings against only 10 walks as the opposition is hitting only .149 against him.

Elliot Morris, 22, is the only one of the four that was not a Top 30 prospect and was a starter in High-A Inland Empire. He has a 3-3 record with a 4.17 ERA in nine starts but the opposition is also only hitting .220 against him.

What The Padres Gave Up In a nod to my friend 1090’s Craig Elsten, Huston Street is a “proven closer” with 258 saves in 10 major league seasons. This year he was having one of his best seasons with a 1.09 ERA and was 24 out of 25 in save opportunities in 33 innings. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts Street was making $7 million this year with a club option for $7 million for 2015.

According to reports, San Diego isn’t sending any money back to the Angles so the deal probably saves the Padres’ in the neighborhood of $3 million dollars.

Trevor Gott, 21 was not in the Padres’ Top 30 rankings by either Baseball America or MadFriars but was having a good year with the Storm with a 16 saves for Lake Elsinore and a 3.16 ERA in 31.1 innings before being promoted to San Antonio after being named a Cal League All-Star at mid-season.

The Padres selected Gott in sixth round out of the University of Kentucky in the 2013 draft.

Breakdown: It is surprising how much the Angles gave up to get Street but they are also only a game and a half out of first place with a bullpen that has blown 13 of 39 save opportunities, Huston’s save conversion numbers, regardless of what anyone thinks of the save statistic, looked pretty good. Additionally, the Angels see Street as more than a half season rental.

The key players coming over may be the two at the bottom levels. Rondon, an athletic hard hitting shortstop should move into the everyday spot in Lake Elsinore with current Storm shortstop Diego Goris, who is having a very good year, moving up to AA San Antonio. Morris, at six-feet-four, 210 lbs. has good size and his .220 batting average against in the Cal League is a good sign. What has hurt him is a pedestrian K/BB ratio of 40/28.

Alvarez could move into the Closer’s role in AA San Antonio and Lindsey should find his way into the middle infield mix in AAA El Paso, although he may have some problems getting on the field with Jace Peterson and Tyler Greene.

The Padres have had time to process a lot of information about all four of the players they received in the trade over several years, both from their scouts and from their own staff since the Angels have all of their affiliates in the same leagues as San Diego.

In the end, with what San Diego was receiving and with Joaquin Benoit in the bullpen at the big league level, pulling the trigger on this deal was a no-brainer.

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