San Diego Staying In The Race

Padres deal prospects to stay atop the West





SAN DIEGO—Jack McKeon, when he was general manager of the Padres, had a theory: Your farm system is doing its job if those players are the pieces in a trade that allow you to strengthen the big club, especially in a pennant race.

The Padres are certainly in a pennant race this year, and at the trade deadline they used their farm system to acquire two proven major league players: infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielder Ryan Ludwick. In exchange, the Padres surrendered pitchers Wynn Pelzer, Corey Kluber and Nick Greenwood.

"To me, to add two guys with playoff experience without disrupting the top three, four or five guys in your system is terrific," farm director Randy Smith said.

Pelzer, a ninth-round selection out of South Carolina in 2008, was rated the organization's No. 7 prospect before the season. But he was having an inconsistent season at Double-A San Antonio and had slipped down the organizational ladder.

Greenwood, a 14th-round pick out of Rhode Island last year, is a soft-throwing lefthander who isn't considered a top prospect. Kluber was a fourth-round pick out of Stetson in 2007. He wasn't among the Padres' top 30 at the start of the season, but was the one player Smith said he regretted giving up.

"Kluber's legit," Smith said. "He has turned himself into a prospect. He had climbed up the depth chart. His arm strength was back, his slider is good as is his changeup. And he has a very businesslike attitude."

Asked to rank the organization's top prospects, one high-ranking Padres official listed it this way: lefthander Cory Luebke, righthander Simon Castro, righthander Adys Portillo, righthander Keyvius Sampson, infielder Logan Forsythe and infielder Drew Cumberland. All were still with the organization after the trading deadline.

FATHER FIGURES

• Righthander Brad Brach set a single-season saves record for high Class A Lake Elsinore. The old mark was 32 set by Carlos Castillo in 1995, when the Storm was an Angels affiliate. Brach has 35 saves in 38 chances and has saved 73 games in 78 chances over the last two years. In 50 games, Brach has pitched 51 innings with seven walks, 59 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA.

• Lake Elsinore won the 40,000th game in California League history, beating Stockton 14-6 on July 27.