Image credit: Mitch Moreland (Maddie Meyer/Getty)
After acquiring Trevor Rosenthal from the Royals on Saturday, the Padres struck again on Sunday. This time, San Diego added some thump to its already mighty lineup by importing first baseman Mitch Moreland from the Red Sox.
The move allows them a solid, veteran replacement for the injured Tommy Pham, especially in a year when the National League is employing the DH. Moreland has raked so far this year, with a .328/.430/.746 slash line and eight homers in 22 games.
The Red Sox are filling Moreland’s role by calling up top prospect Bobby Dalbec, whose calling card is massive power.
To get Moreland, the Padres tapped into their deep prospect well and sent third baseman Hudson Potts and outfielder Jeisson Rosario to Boston. With Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. solidified on the left side of the infield, Potts’ path to San Diego was blocked.
Rosario, too, had a healthy group in front of him, including prospects like Taylor Trammell and the newly drafted Robert Hassell, to say nothing of Trent Grisham in the big leagues. The Padres also tapped into their well of outfield prospects in the Rosenthal deal when they sent Edward Olivares to Kansas City.
Mitch Moreland, 1B/DH
Moreland has been one of the hardest-hitting first basemen in MLB this year, albeit mostly in a platoon role. Moreland has slammed eight home runs in just 67 at-bats, 59 of which have come against righties. All of his home runs have been against righthanders as well. He’s overall been especially adept at making quality contact in 2020; his 22.4% barrel rate is among the top 1% of the league. Moreland will strictly be a DH with Eric Hosmer entrenched at first base in San Diego. Padres designated hitters have hit .249/.328/.349 this season, so Moreland will be a significant upgrade in that role. He is signed through the end of this season and has a $3 million club option (with a $500,000 buyout) for 2021.
RED SOX ACQUIRE
Hudson Potts, 3B
Potts, the Padres’ first-rounder in 2016 out of high school in Texas, had seen his career stall somewhat over the last two seasons at Double-A. Even at the extremely hitter-friendly confines of Amarillo, he produced an OPS of just .696. Potts dealt with a strained oblique in 2019, but when healthy displayed upside because of his plus power, which has been somewhat muted by a below-average, free-swinging approach. He’s a sure-handed defender at third base with the hands and arm to stick at the position.
Jeisson Rosario, OF
Rosario offers standout athleticism and above-average defense in center field thanks to plus speed. He showed an excellent batting eye in the high Class A California League in 2019, producing a .372 on-base percentage that ranked fifth in the league. He shows signs of above-average raw power in batting practice but has a career slugging percentage of just .340—and just seven home runs—through 1,053 minor league at-bats. Rosario’s swing in games is often tight and contorted, so loosening him up will be key to making better contact.