UPDATE: The Marlins and Padres made a separate deal Aug. 1 reversing part of this original, six-player deal. Miami returned righthander Colin Rea to the Padres for Luis Castillo, two days after Rea made his debut for the Marlins. He pitched 3 1/3 innings on July 30 in Miami but left the start early and was placed on the disabled list July 31 with a right elbow sprain. With the Padres selling off for the future and the Marlins pushing for the team's first playoff berth since 2003, the teams already connected for a trade once this month when they swapped Fernando Rodney for Chris Paddack. On Friday, the teams joined up again to make another trade, a six-player deal that involves four pitchers who have touched 100 mph in their careers. The Padres traded righthanders Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea—two-fifths of their starting rotation—along with flamethrowing relief prospect Tayron Guerrero to the Marlins in exchange for starter Jarred Cosart, reliever Carter Capps, top prospect Josh Naylor and hard-throwing minor league righthander Luis Castillo. The trade reinforces a Marlins rotation in need of back-end help after Wei-Yin Chen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow strain, while the Padres add a major-league ready arm and three pieces they hope can help the franchise in future seasons.
The Marlins’ No. 1 prospect in our Midseason Update opened eyes at the Futures Game earlier this month with prodigious power and bat speed during batting practice, depositing numerous high drives well beyond the right-center field fence at Petco Park, the deepest part of the ballpark. It’s the same power that earns a 65 grade from some scouts and convinced the Marlins to make him the 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft. That power has shown up in games this year, with 24 doubles and nine homers in 89 games for low class A Greensboro in his first full season. A stocky 6-foot, 225 pounds, Naylor won’t win any beauty pageants but has shown himself to be underrated as an athlete. He is a capable defender at first base with an above-average arm and an improving glove, with room to grow into an average defender at first. That athleticism is evident in his 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts this season despite his build. He also showed it with an impressive diving stop to his right to prevent a double down the line in the Futures Game. His ceiling is a middle-of-the-order perennial 30-home run threat, although he still has a ways to go before reaching that ceiling. Some red flags were raised about Naylor earlier this year they when he reportedly stabbed teammate Stone Garrett in the thumb with a knife in what was described as “a prank that went a little too far.”
NOTE: Castillo was traded back to the Marlins for Colin Rea on Aug. 1. Castillo originally signed with the Giants as a 19-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and was traded to the Marlins as part of the Casey McGehee deal after the 2014 season. Exclusively a reliever with the Giants, the Marlins slowly transitioned Castillo into a starter and saw promising results. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander possesses an electric fastball that’s registered as high as 101 mph and consistently been 96-97 this year at high class A Jupiter, and has backed it up quality slider and progressing changeup that has been particularly effective against lefthanded hitters, all while cutting his walk rate in half. He has also held up well, pitching effectively at the 100-plus innings mark in back-to-back seasons. While old for his level, Castillo has raised his potential ceiling this year to a quality major-league starter, with a high-leverage bullpen role also a possibility if he runs into trouble at higher levels.
Capps had Tommy John surgery in March and is expected to be out through at least the early part of the 2017 season, but he was dominant for Miami when healthy. A third-round pick of the Mariners in 2011, Capps went to the Marlins in exchange for Logan Morrison and became one the majors’ top relievers, posting a 2.28 ERA, 0.955 WHIP and a 16.2 strikeouts-per-nine innings rate in 47 appearances over two seasons with Miami. His walk rate improved every season, dropping to 2.0-per-nine in 2015. He formerly had a four-pitch mix but is now largely a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball that averages 99 mph and a mid-80s knuckle curve. Once he returns to health, Capps represents either the Padres closer of the future or an eighth-inning setup man for Brandon Maurer.
The two-time BA Top 100 prospect went 13-11, 3.69 as a 24-year old in his first full season in 2014 but has regressed badly due to injuries and lack of control the last two seasons. He was limited to 14 appearances in 2015 after being diagnosed with an inner ear disorder that was causing him to suffer from vertigo and recently missed most of this past June with a strained oblique. When healthy, he hasn’t been very effective, posting a 4.84 ERA with 5.8 strikeouts-per-nine and 4.0-walks per nine in 18 appearances the last two seasons. He was demoted to the minors at the end of April after walking 15 batters over 14 2/3 innings in his first three starts and only recently made it back to the majors, where he pitched five scoreless innings for the Marlins against the Phillies on July 25. Cosart plugs into San Diego’s rotation immediately, although for how long and in what role will be determined by his health and ability to regain his control consistently.
Cashner came to the Padres in a trade with the Cubs for Anthony Rizzo in 2012, the lowpoint in a series of moves made during the Josh Byrnes-era that did not work out. Cashner flashed shades of brilliance in 2013-14, posting a 2.87 ERA in 50 games while reaching triple-digit velocity but has regressed badly with his control while losing a couple of ticks of his fastball velocity, dropping from 96-97 in his prime to 94-95 currently. As a result, Cashner has a 4.47 ERA in 47 starts the last two seasons despite pitching in one the majors' most pitcher-friendly home parks, with a walk rate and home run rate that has increased each of the last two seasons. Opponents have an .821 OPS against him this year, and he has pitched more than six innings only once. His most recent three-start stretch was promising (1-0, 2.55), and the Marlins will plug him into the rotation and hope he can keep that recent streak going. He will be a free agent for the first time at the end of this season.
UPDATE: Rea was traded back to the Padres on Aug. 1, after being placed on the disabled list July 31 with a right elbow sprain. Rea was a classic “pop-up” guy, a mid-round selection from a smaller college who only seemed to improve once he got into pro ball. The 2011 12th-round pick out of Indiana State made his major-league debut in Aug. 2015—he was in high class A on the exact date one year prior—and has been middling so far, going 7-7, 4.81 with 7.0 strikeouts per-nine in his first 25 career appearances, 24 starts. Control has been an issue for Rea, with 4.0 walks-per-nine this year leading to some elevated pitch counts and short stints. Nothing in Rea’s arsenal stands out—his low-to-mid 90s fastball and sinker are his two primary pitches with an upper 70s curveball his main breaking pitch—but he has shown flashes of being a serviceable back-end starter when his control is on.
The towering 6-foot-8, 210-pound Colombian reliever has had one of the hardest fastballs in the Padres system in recent years, routinely hitting 100 mph and earning his first big league callup this year. Like many pitchers his size though, Guerrero has trouble keeping all his limbs in sync and repeating his delivery, resulting in wildness. He has a career 5.9-walks-per-nine innings ratio in his minor league career, which has led to a 1.502 career WHIP and 4.10 career ERA, numbers way beyond what a pitcher with his raw stuff might expect. The swing-and-miss stuff is there for him to be a reliever in the majors with upper-90s velocity and a slider that appears to wipeout pitch at times, but coordination and general mechanics need a lot of work for him to have enough control to be effective.