Padres Get: Jarred Cosart (2015/16 — 88.4 IP, 5.23 ERA, 1.579 WHIP, 4.78 FIP), Josh Naylor (Class A – 342 AB, .269/.317/.430, 9 HR, 54 RBI) Luis Castillo (Class A totals – 348.1 IP, 2.71 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 8.4 K/9), Carter Capps (2015 – 31 IP, 1.16 ERA, 16.8 K/9, .80 WHIP)
The most important thing to remember from this trade isn’t that the Miami gave up its Top 2 prospect and best potential relief pitcher in exchange for a mid-rotation starter.
It’s that the prize of the deal, 29-year-old starter Andrew Cashner, will have to shave off his trademark beard to fall in line with the Marlins’ somewhat-new no facial hair policy.
That is a travesty.
All joking aside, this is a deal that can be deceiving at first glance. Two fantastic young players for a starter in the midst of a mediocre year? The advantage obviously goes to the Padres here, right?
Wrong. Miami is surprisingly in the thick of the NL Wild Card at 55-47, five games back of the Nationals in the NL East. Its glaring need was starting pitching; only Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley have been getting it done in the rotation, while the bullpen has been lights out even without — the other star of this deal — Carter Capps.
Their farm system is thin, so they aren’t in contention for the bigger prizes in the pitching market (Rich Hill, Chris Sale). This is a solid deal that hits the spot without breaking the, albeit small, prospect bank.
(Another plus: Wei-Yin Chen just went down with an elbow injury, so this deal provides two solutions for Miami until his return).
Cashner will slot right in and provide steady innings. Consistency and health are what this rotation needs to complement an offense and bullpen that are set for the stretch run, and he provides the consistency.
However, health is a concern. After pitching to an elite 2.87 ERA in 289 1/3 innings in 2013 and 14, Cashner’s injuries were a factor in his 4.34 ERA in 184 2/3 innings last season. He’s currently posting a 4.76 in 79 1/3 innings in 2016.
Why was he among the few starters on the market this year? His last three starts played a big role (17.2 total innings, 5 ER, 3 BB, 23 SO). They were enough to convince the Marlins to pull the trigger. His friendly contract is also a plus; he’s due $7.5 million this year, and will be an unrestricted free agent come November. This means he’s a rental, but that’s just fine for the Marlins’ current “tweener” situation.
The 26-year-old Rea has just half a year of service time under his belt, and is under team control until 2021. He projects as a potential long-term starter for Miami, though he is still developing. Picked in the 12th round of the 2011 draft, he began this season as the #4 prospect in the Padres’ system. At the MLB level, he’s pitched to a 4.81 ERA with a 4.44 FIP in 131 career innings, and his 3.8 BB/9 and 7.0 K/9 rates are just decent.
There’s something there, though. Baseball Prospectus noted his potential in January: “He’s not overpowering, but Rea commands the heck out of a 90-93 mph four-seam fastball, with solid plane. His best pitch is a cutter with slider-like bite that he will throw for strikes and use to break left-handed hitters’ bats. Rea doesn’t induce many whiffs with his curveball and change but his ability to locate those pitches yields consistently weak contact from hitters.”
Carter Capps might just be the biggest loss for Miami in this deal. He became well known last season both for his numbers — 1.16 ERA, 1.10 FIP, 58–7 K/BB ratio in 31 innings pitched — and his funky delivery. His high velocity and consistent control had the makings of a recognizable future star in Miami’s bullpen, but a UCL injury in spring training that required Tommy John stunted that potential.
The Marlins’ front office must not be confident in his post-injury performance because this is a tough piece to part with.
Miami’s #2 prospect, first baseman Josh Naylor, is also heading to San Diego in this deal. Only 19, Naylor is putting up a .269/.317/.430 line in A ball with nine homers, 24 doubles, two triples and ten stolen bases.
He’s got raw power in a huge 6’0″, 225-pound frame, and is drawing Prince Fielder comparisons. Rightly so — his defense at first base in average or even below average, and his bat is what will get him to and keep him afloat in the major leagues.
While being #2, let alone top five, in any farm system is something to boast about, the Marlins paper-thin system inflates that value a bit. Capps is by far and away the biggest haul of this deal if he can get past the Tommy John.
TL;DR: This is a trade that mutually benefits both teams. While the Padres are left with almost no starting pitching, their full focus is ~2020 at this point. They get a couple high-ceiling young talents. The Marlins get a much-needed boost to their rotation and will, as long as their health holds up, be competing for a wild-card spot.
18 year old Washington sports fan and Penn State freshman. I'll cover the MLB, NFL, and NBA.