By the time this particular three-way transaction was fluffed, speculated upon, tamped and sealed, the Tampa Bays Rays had parted with outfielder Wil Myers, who once and for a short time had been their future and now appears to be the San Diego Padres.
As both franchises continued to resituate themselves under fresh management, the Rays are expected to receive three minor leaguers (right-hander Joe Ross, right-hander Burch Smith and first baseman Jake Bauers) and catcher Rene Rivera. The Padres would receive Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan and minor-league pitchers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo.
Shortstop Trea Turner from the Padres and Ross from the Rays go to the Washington Nationals, who would send outfielder Steven Souza and left-hander Travis Ott to the Rays.
The trade, first reported by Fox Sports and hashed out by several outlets, including Yahoo Sports, is pending physicals.
It’s complicated, so here’s how it apparently plays out at the end:
• The Padres get: Myers, Hanigan, Reyes and Castillo.
•The Rays get: Souza, Ott, Rivera, Smith and Bauers.
• The Nationals get: Turner (as a player to be named later) and Ross.
Down the line, the Padres put Myers in the outfield corner opposite Matt Kemp, assuming that trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers is finalized. Hanigan fills the catching vacancy left by Rivera (and Yasmani Grandal, who is headed to the Dodgers).
The Rays put Rivera at catcher, Souza (2014’s International League MVP) in right field and restock their farm system. Souza batted .130 in 26 plate appearances spread over 21 games for the Nationals last season. He also memorably saved Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on Sept. 28 with a lunging, over-the-shoulder catch in left-center field for the 27th out.
The Nationals line up Turner behind shortstop Ian Desmond, who can be a free agent after 2015, and Ross behind a rotation that could lose Zimmermann on the same timetable.
The immediately significant player is Myers, who turned 24 a week ago. He was the linchpin of a seven-man trade two years ago, the one that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, which the Royals turned into their first postseason appearance since 1985, or five years before Myers was born.
A.J. Preller, the Padres’ new general manager, has been aggressive in attempting to turn over a roster that appeared to be losing ground in the NL West. While sorting through the results of Kemp’s physical exam, Preller, who’d whiffed on free agents Pablo Sandoval and Yasmani Tomas, on Wednesday added Myers, the 2013 American League rookie of the year who backslid in 2014. A wrist fracture limited Myers to 87 games last season, during which he batted .222 with a .294 on-base percentage. That the wrist is healed and Myers can return to being one of the game’s top young talents is the risk assumed by the Padres, and perhaps the reason Myers was available.
The worst offensive team in baseball last season and something close to the worst for years, the Padres appear close to upgrading with Kemp and Myers in the middle of their lineup. Kemp also has a recent injury history, however, and these are the chances a low-spending club takes when it shares a division with the World Series champion San Francisco Giants and flush Dodgers. The Padres have had the lowest opening day payroll in the NL West every year since 2009.
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