In one of the most active trade deadlines in memory, a number of teams made pickups notable not just for their quality, but for their low price. At the other end of the spectrum, a number of contenders with holes sat out the deal-making, to their detriment, and one made themselves worse with a deal. Here are the trade deadline winners and losers:
Padres: Saturday’s acquisition of Ryan Ludwick for pitching prospects Corey Kluber and Nick Greenwood was the best move any team made at the deadline. Ludwick immediately becomes the Padres’ second-best hitter, coming in having posted a .281/.343/.484 line for the Cardinals in 77 games. In addition to his bat, Ludwick brings good range, critical for an outfielder manning the pasture in Petco Park. No matter who he replaces in the lineup — Scott Hairston and Anthony Gwynn are most likely to lose playing time — the addition of Ludwick is worth two additional wins to the Padres down the stretch, wins they’ll need to hold off the surging Giants.
The Padres also picked up Miguel Tejada from the Orioles, which helps their shaky offense but could be a problem defensively. Tejada wasn’t considered a shortstop by the market over the winter, and if the Padres play him there, as they’re expected to with Chase Headley settled in at third base, he could give back more runs than he produces.
In neither of these deals did the Padres give up anything of note. Kluber, the best of the bunch, is a big 24-year-old whose pitching fairly well in the Texas League this season. He’s headed to the Indians, for whom he’ll have a chance to advance quickly. Even with that, Kluber was nowhere near the Padres’ top 10 prospects over the winter; the prospect dealt for Tejada, Wynn Pelzer, has some upside but is having a lost season, with 83 walks in 94 1/3 innings at Double-A. The Padres didn’t give up anything they’ll miss, and they got a little bit closer to a division title. That’s a win.