Nationals Continue Selloff, Trade Daniel Hudson To Padres For Two Prospects
The Nationals selloff continues to be fast and furious.
Hours after trading Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber and reportedly Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, the Nationals completed their fourth trade of the day on Thursday when they sent reliever Daniel Hudson to the Padres for righthander Mason Thompson and minor league shortstop Jordy Barley.
The Nationals are now down five players on their roster from the start of the day, and more may be coming. Josh Harrison, Yan Gomes and Josh Bell are all in play to be traded as the Nationals seek to start anew with the team entering deadline day 47-55 and in fourth place in the National League East.
With the Hudson trade, the Nationals have now added seven prospects to what was MLB’s worst farm system.
Mason Thompson, RHP
Thompson was the Padres No. 15 prospect and made his major league debut this season. The 6-foot-7 righthander was a starter in the lower levels, but frequent injuries and poor control caused the Padres to move him to relief in instructional league last year. Thompson’s fastball sits at 94-96 and touches 98 mph out of the bullpen and his 88-90 mph slider is an above-average weapon against righthanders. Lefties see Thompson well and he doesn’t have an effective pitch against them. He held righthanded batters to a .685 OPS at Triple-A El Paso this season but surrendered an .892 OPS against lefties. Thompson’s two-pitch mix, lack of a pitch for lefties and long injury history—he had Tommy John surgery in high school and has had separate injured list stints for biceps, triceps, shoulder and elbow injuries as a pro—will keep him in the bullpen moving forward, likely as a matchup specialist against righties. He should join the Nationals bullpen at some point during the season, if not immediately following the trade.
Jordy Barley, SS
Barley is a bouncy, twitchy athlete whose baseball skills are extremely raw and did not rank among the Padres midseason Top 30 Prospects. He hit .240/.333/.388 with a 29% strikeout rate at Low-A Lake Elsinore this season and made 30 errors in 54 games in the field. Barley has borderline plus-plus speed and is a stolen base threat because of it. He stole 33 bases in 39 attempts at Lake Elsinore and has the athleticism to play both middle infield spots. Barley has extremely poor instincts, however, and makes a lot of careless mental mistakes in the field. He lacks instincts in the batter’s box as well and projects to be a well below-average hitter at best. He does have some strength and the fringe-average power to project for 8-12 home runs, but it’s unlikely he’ll make enough contact to reach that. The Padres unsuccessfully tried to translate Barley’s raw athleticism into baseball skills for five years since they signed him. The Nationals took a flier on him and will try to see if they can have better success.
Mason Thompson Shows Off At Instructs
The Padres added the 23-year-old to the 40-man roster after showing promise in the bullpen at fall instructs.
Daniel Hudson, RHP
After struggling in during the shortened 2020 season, Hudson returned to his previous form this season. He posted a 2.20 ERA in 31 relief appearances primarily pitching the eighth inning as the setup man for Brad Hand, with 48 strikeouts and seven walks in 32.2 innings. Hudson’s velocity has steadily increased each of the last three seasons and he now averages 97 mph on his fastball. His power upper-80s slider with sharp, late movement is a devastating pitch that gets whiffs on more than half of swings, and his changeup has been effective against lefties the few times he’s thrown it. Hudson becomes another late-inning weapon for a Padres bullpen that has the lowest ERA in baseball but has also thrown the second-most innings of any relief corps. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.