Image credit: Franchy Cordero (Denis Poroy/Getty)
While other teams remain quiet on the trade front in advance of the 2020 season, the Padres are staying busy.
A little over two weeks after acquiring infielder Jorge Mateo from the A’s for a player to be named later, the Padres sent outfielder Franchy Cordero and righthanded pitcher Ronald Bolaños to the Royals in exchange for lefthanded reliever Tim Hill on Thursday.
The trade comes shortly after the Padres lost lefthanded reliever Jose Castillo to a lat strain that will keep him out at least six weeks. Even though they had another lefty in their bullpen in Drew Pomeranz, the Padres paid a high price to replace Castillo as the second lefty in their bullpen.
Franchy Cordero, OF
Cordero is simultaneously one of the most electrifying and frustrating young outfielders in Major League Baseball. The long, strong Dominican is a 70-grade runner whose long strides allow him to cover a tremendous amount of ground in center field and turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples on the basepaths. His natural strength and long levers produce massive power at the plate, helping him flash moments of being a dynamic, lefthanded power-speed force. Cordero struggles mightily with pitch recognition, however, leading to poor contact rates and an inability to be a consistent contributor offensively. He is also prone to poor jumps and misplays in the outfield. He’s had a string of health issues, playing only 47 games between the majors and minors in 2018 and 24 games total in 2019. Cordero is only 25 and has immense potential. With health and the right guidance, he has the talent to become the Royals’ center fielder of the future.
Ronald Bolaños, RHP
Bolaños vaulted from high Class A to the majors last year, showing electrifying stuff up the ladder but also wobbly control. He ranked as the Padres No. 13 prospect entering the season. Originally signed for $2 million out of Cuba, Bolaños has incredible feel to manipulate his fastball and can dial it up and down anywhere between 89-98 mph, generally sitting 94-95. He can cut, run or sink it, making his fastball play like multiple pitches. His high-spin curveball is a borderline plus pitch that gets swings and misses, and he effectively mixes in a slider and changeup to keep hitters off balance. Bolaños has a lot of moving parts in his delivery, which leads to fringe-average control and too many noncompetitive pitches. He has the arsenal to start if he can tighten that up, but if not he should be an effective weapon in relief.
Tim Hill, LHP
Hill, who began his college career at Palomar JC in suburban San Diego, has been excellent against lefties and respectable enough against righties in his career that he should be able to adjust to the new three-batter minimum rule. Lefties have hit just .211/.276/.248 against him, while righties have hit .259/.332/.434. Hill has averaged just under a strikeout per inning in his career with his sinker-slider combination and has kept the ball on the ground when batters do connect against him, limiting the amount of damage he surrenders. He’ll slot into a low-leverage and situational relief role with the Padres, but he’s shown he can be effective in a high-leverage relief role as needed.