Rays Acquire Manny Margot, Prospect From Padres For Emilio Pagan
The Padres and Rays struck their second deal of the offseason Saturday night. Roughly two months after completing the Tommy Pham-Hunter Renfroe swap, the Padres sent outfielder Manny Margot and catching prospect Logan Driscoll to the Rays in exchange for righthanded reliever Emilio Pagan.
Margot's trade continues the Padres remaking of their outfield over the last nine months. In that time they've traded Margot, Renfroe and Franmil Reyes and acquired Pham, Trent Grisham and prospect Taylor Trammell.
The Rays have been re-imagining their outfield this offseason. They've added Renfroe, Margot, Jose Martinez, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Randy Arozarena to their outfield mix since the end of the World Series, although Martinez figures to purely be a DH.
Manny Margot, CF
Margot ranked as high as the No. 24 prospect in baseball, but he never learned to drive the ball and his plate discipline continually regressed. He ranked 210th in average exit velocity (86.5 mph) and 219th in barrel percentage (2.5 percent) out of 250 qualified players last season, per Statcast, numbers in line with his overall career. Overall he's hit .248/.301/.394 in just over three seasons in the majors. Margot's strength lies in his defense. He is one of the rangiest center fielders in baseball with his plus-plus speed and elite jumps. At the very least, Margot gives the Rays a second Gold Glove-caliber center fielder to cover them when Kevin Kiermaier goes down with an injury, as he has each of the last three years. If the Rays can unlock better pitch selection from Margot, he may add enough offense to become their everyday center fielder of the future.
Logan Driscoll, C
Driscoll ranked as the Padres No. 27 prospect entering the season. He became George Mason's highest-drafted player ever last year when the Padres took him 73rd overall, nine spots ahead of where fellow catcher Chris Widger was drafted in 1992. Driscoll is a chiseled hulk of a man who projects as an offensive catcher. He takes a patient, contact-first approach from the left side and lets his natural strength provide his average power. He is a disciplined hitter who recorded nearly as many walks (74) as strikeouts (75) in college. Scouts are split on whether he is athletic enough to stick behind the plate with his bulk, but he called his own games in college, runs a staff well and is a solid blocker with an above-average arm. Driscoll's offense will drive his rise. He'll make his full-season debut in 2020.
Arizona Fall League Top MLB Prospects Hot Sheet (10/14/19)
Ranking the 10 hottest prospects in the Arizona Fall League last week, beginning with the Twins' Royce Lewis.
Emilio Pagan, RHP
Pagan moves to his fourth team in as many seasons after a breakthrough 2019. He served as a solid mid-to-late innings reliever for the Mariners in 2017 and A's in 2018 before becoming the Rays primary closer last year. Pagan led the Rays' American League-best bullpen in saves (20), strikeouts (96) and WHIP (0.829) last year while limiting batters to a .179 average. Pagan overpowers hitters with a high-spin mid-90s fastball and upper-80s cutter, both of which are swing-and-miss pitches. He throws both pitches for strikes and stays off of barrels, limiting the damage even when batters do connect. Pagan gives the Padres another premium late-inning relief option to go with Kirby Yates and Andres Munoz. He will see plenty of high-leverage situations from the outset.