MLB Trade Review: Padres acquire Musgrove in three team deal


       The San Diego Padres have acquired RHP Joe Musgrove from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-team trade with the New York Mets. The Pirates acquired OF Hudson Head, LHP Omar Cruz, RHP David Bednar and RHP Drake Fellows from the Padres, and C Endy Rodriguez from New York. The Mets acquired LHP Joey Lucchesi from San Diego.

       This offseason has been very boring, but thankfully the Padres have given us some excitement. First it was the acquisitions of both Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in the same day, and while Musgrove isn\’t on that level, he\’s still a really good pitcher. Musgrove struck out 33.1% of batters in 2020, with an average exit velocity against of 85.1 and a .197 xBA. Musgrove has an amazing curveball and slider, as both pitches had whiff rates over 50%, with an xBA of .120 or lower. Behind Snell, Darvish and Dinelson Lamet, Musgrove may now be baseball\’s best fourth starter. The Padres give up a lot of assets, but no top-100 prospects, and they still have a deep farm system.

        Musgrove, 28, had a 3.86 ERA with 55 strikeouts, a 3.42 FIP and a 1.235 WHIP in 39.2 innings for the Pirates in 2020. In his MLB career for Pittsburgh and the Houston Astros, Musgrove has a 4.33 ERA with 465 strikeouts, a 3.90 FIP and a 1.232 WHIP in 496.2 innings. 

        With this deal, the Pirates are testing dangerous waters. This could be comparable to two of their previous deals, when Tyler Glasnow went to Tampa Bay and Gerrit Cole went to Houston. Ironically, Musgrove was acquired in the trade for Cole. Overall, they make a good portion of the San Diego farm system theirs. Head is the most notable of the group. MLB Pipeline ranked him as San Diego\’s 7th best prospect. Head was a 3rd round pick in 2019, and played 32 minor league games that year. The next best prospect is Cruz, who was 17th. He will turn 22 next week, and he has good numbers in a small sample size of minor league games. The one player the Pirates will receive with MLB experience is Bednar, who was previously San Diego\’s 20th prospect. He has struggled as part of the bullpen in stints in 2019 and 2020. He has had a successful minor league career, with a 2.70 ERA and a 12.4 K/9 over four seasons. The Pirates opted to get Endy Rodriguez, the Mets 14th best prospect, over the MLB caliber Joey Lucchesi. Rodriguez has mostly caught in two minor league seasons, but he can also play first base and corner outfield. The one prospect that wasn\’t ranked top-30 in a team\’s organization is Drake Fellows. Fellows is a six-foot-five starter who was drafted in the 6th round in 2019 out of Vanderbilt. 

        Head, 19, was drafted out of Winston Churchill High School a year ago. In 2019 in the Arizona League, he hit one home run with three stolen bases, a .283 average and an OPS of .800 in 141 Plate Appearances.

        Cruz, 21, had a 2.73 ERA with 76 strikeouts and a 1.161 WHIP in 56 innings for Low-A Tri-City and Single-A Fort Wayne in 2019. In his minor league career, Cruz has a 2.38 ERA with 135 strikeouts and a 1.231 WHIP in 98.1 innings. 

        Bednar, 26, had a 7.11 ERA with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings in 2020. In his short MLB career, Bednar has a 6.75 ERA with 19 strikeouts, a 5.23 FIP and a 1.615 WHIP in 17.1 innings.

        Rodriguez, 20, hit two home runs with four stolen bases, a .294 average and an OPS of .921 in 124 Plate Appearances in rookie ball in 2019. In his minor league career, Rodriguez has four home runs with six stolen bases, a .276 average and an .840 OPS in 265 Plate Appearances.

        Fellows, 22, had a 4.09 ERA with 133 strikeouts and a 1.354 WHIP in 116.2 innings for Vanderbilt in 2019. In his collegiate career, Fellows had a 3.85 ERA with 308 strikeouts and a 1.230 WHIP in 275.2 innings. 

        The Mets have reportedly been in the market for a 5th starter, with Corey Kluber being an option before he signed with the Yankees. They currently have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Marcus Stroman, with Noah Syndergaard rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. While David Peterson looks like a suitable fifth starter, and so does Steven Matz from time-to-time, the Mets wanted more depth. They get Lucchesi, who is just entering his prime. His 100 ERA+ in 2019 shows that he was exactly a league average pitcher. The analytics show that, as he isn\’t really bad at anything, or great at anything. His strong suit is his change-up, a pitch he only threw once in three appearances in 2020, which may be why he struggled. In 2019, the pitch had a .183 average against with a 38.6 whiff percentage. Giving up a top 15 prospect in the system does seem like too much, considering Lucchesi barely participated last year, and his best season is just average. 

         Lucchesi, 27, had a 7.94 ERA with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings last year. In his MLB career, all in San Diego, Lucchesi has a 4.21 ERA with 308 strikeouts, a 4.21 FIP and a 1.280 WHIP in 299.1 innings. 

Published by carterhud SI Kids Kid Reporter, Prime Time Sports Talk writer

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