With an abundance of arms at the back end of the starting rotation, the Padres could make a deal to acquire a left-handed hitter and/or a left-handed reliever, suggests Bill Center of U-T San Diego. Center writes that Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin, or Eric Stults could be expendable.
Smith and Erlin got their first taste of Major League competition during the 2013 season at the ages of 23 and 22, respectively. As such, they each would have plenty of time under team control going forward. Stults turns 34 years old on December 9 and is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career after taking home slightly more than $507,000 over the past season.
Currently, the Padres’ bullpen is all right-handed. They aren’t exactly lacking in left-handed bats, with the strictly-lefty Yonder Alonso and Will Venable and the switch-hitting Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.