When “Trader Jerry” and “Always Awake A.J.” have the proper motivation to make trades, something like this shouldn’t be surprising.
On the eve of the Major League Baseball trade deadline Monday, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and Padres general manager A.J. Preller put together a stunning seven-player trade that sent three veteran Mariners, who weren’t necessarily a part of the organization’s rebuild and future, to San Diego in exchange for four players with plenty of club control, including one of the top 100 prospects in baseball and a pitcher with a 100-mph fastball.
The Mariners sent right-handed relievers Dan Altavilla and Austin Adams and catcher/first baseman Austin Nola to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Taylor Trammell, infielder Ty France, right-handed pitcher Andres Munoz and catcher Luis Torrens.
“We are excited to add four talented players to the Mariners organization, all of whom are playing in their age-25 or younger seasons,” Dipoto said in a news release. “Ty France has shown the ability to play the corners of the diamond, while providing pop at the plate. Andres Muñoz is an electric arm, who at 21, has already gained experience at the big-league level. Luis Torrens receives well behind the plate and has the ability to be a productive hitter at the major-league level. Taylor Trammell is a dynamic player who has an advanced left-handed bat, speed on the bases and above-average defense in the outfield.”
While it was always expected that the Mariners would move Nola for the right return, they also were able to move Adams, who hasn’t pitched in 2020 due to offseason knee surgery, and Altavilla, who has never been able to harness his power stuff or provide consistent results. He also is arbitration eligible after this season and out of minor-league options.
Nola had been one of the Mariners’ top contributors this season. And his versatility of being able to play catcher as well as both corner infield spots made him coveted to teams in search of a competent right-handed bat with positional versatility.
The Padres’ catchers had combined to post a .140/.225/.290 slash line with three doubles, four homers and seven RBI in 35 games. Nola has a .306/.373/.531 slash line with five doubles, a triple, five homers and 19 walks in 29 games.
But at age 30, Nola’s value was never going to be higher than right now and he likely wasn’t going to be a part of Seattle’s everyday plans in 2022 and 2023.
The acquisition of Trammell is the biggest draw in the deal. He was rated as the No. 4 prospect in a deep Padres farm system, while MLB.com had him at No. 5. In terms of overall rankings in baseball, Keith Law of The Athletic rated Trammell at No. 43, while he was ranked No. 60 by MLB.com, No. 68 by Fangraphs and No. 78 by Baseball America. Getting a top-100 prospect in any deal when you aren’t giving up an All-Star is big.
Trammell, 22, was a first-round supplemental choice — No. 35 overall — by the Reds in 2016 out of Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, Georgia. He was sent to the Padres in a three-team trade last season. He still is a bit raw in terms of production, but he’s got blazing speed and some power potential. Some swing changes that the Reds wanted him to make last season to improve launch angle didn’t yield ideal results. He’s still a few years away from possibly being a contributor at the MLB level, but he provides a level of depth to the future outfield corps of Seattle that features Kyle Lewis, Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez.
Munoz, 21, currently is recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent in March. When healthy, he has a fastball that touched 103 mph in 2018. He has posted a 1-1 record with one save and a 3.91 ERA in 22 relief appearances, including 30 strikeouts and 11 walks in 23 innings. He is rated as the No. 16 prospect in the Padres organization by Baseball America due to the injury. He was ranked No. 7 coming into the season.
France and Torrens could be added to the active roster for the upcoming Mariners homestand if they pass intake testing protocols and are needed. It would seem that France would be join the Mariners while Torrens might report to the alternate training site in Tacoma.
France, 26, has played in 20 games for the Padres this season, posting a .309/.377/.491 slash line with four doubles, two homers, 10 RBI. He can play either first base or third base. He spent the first half of 2019 at Class AAA El Paso, posting a .399/.477/.770 line with 27 doubles, 27 homers and 89 RBI in 76 games before being called up.
Torrens, 24, has played in seven games for the Padres this season, getting three hits in 13 plate appearances with a double, a walk and two strikeouts. He spent most of last season at Class AA Amarillo, posting a .300/.373/.500 slash line with 23 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 62 RBI in 97 games.