Dan Hayes of the North County Times has confirmed the speculation about Anthony Rizzo’s impending arrival, citing a team source who says the stud first base prospect will be in the Padres’ lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Nationals.
Rizzo was already in San Diego to have his injured thumb examined, but the Padres have been coy about whether he’d stick around and moving Brad Hawpe from first base to right field was some pretty obvious writing on the wall.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade this offseason, forced the earlier-than-expected call-up by hitting .365 with 16 homers, 20 doubles, and a ridiculous 1.159 OPS in 52 games at Triple-A as a 21-year-old.
That production is well beyond anything he’s done in the past, as Rizzo entered the season with an .850 career OPS, but Baseball America ranked him as a top-75 prospect even before this year’s explosion and he’s definitely the Padres’ long-term replacement for Gonzalez at first base and in the middle of the lineup.
Between his arrival and Nick Hundley’s return from the disabled list San Diego’s pitiful lineup is getting a whole lot stronger after scoring an MLB-worst 3.4 runs per game through 62 games.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.