Padres Trade Benoit

After picking up relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit’s option for 2016 for $7.5 million dollars, San Diego then sent him to the Seattle Mariners for minor leaguers RHP Enyel De Los Santos, and infielder Nelson Ward on Thursday.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune has the breakdown of the trade. The thirty-eight year old Benoit had a 2.34 ERA in 65.1 innings with 63 strikeouts against 23 walks in 2015. According to the Seattle Times, Benoit should have a good chance to compete for the closer’s role with the Mariners.

Of the two prospects the Padres got back, Baseball America believes that De Los Santos is the one to watch. Only twenty years old, the six-foot-three and 170 pounds the Dominican posses a live fastball that can touch 97 MPH and sits in the mid-90s. With short-season Everett in the Northwest League he struck out 42 in 37.2 innings against only 13 walks. His breaking stuff and changeup are still developing, as would be expected at that age.

Nelson Ward, 23, a former University of Georgia Bulldog, a left-handed hitter played second and third for the Low-A Clinton Lumberjacks and the High-A Bakersfield Blaze. In 76 games with the Blaze he hit .282/.362/.436. He should end up in Double-A San Antonio, where he will compete for playing time with infielders Fernando Perez, Gabriel Quintana and Chase Jensen.

As with yesterday’s trade for Jose Pierla, Ward is more of an emergency shortstop as opposed to an everyday option.

Breakdown: This is a good move. In one move the Padres reduced and gained payroll flexibility by moving Benoit, where they should have ample candidates to take over the set-up role and gained another high upside arm.

The Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps staff for 2016 should be very strong. RHPs Austin Smith and Jacob Nix, San Diego’s top picks in last year’s draft were slated to go much higher than they did by Baseball America to go along with LHP Jose Castillo, who came over in the Wil Myers’ trade with Tampa last off-season will now be joined by De Los Santos.

All four will be under 21 and all four have plus stuff. Combine a strong staff from last year’s short-season Tri-Cities Dust Devils team, and the TinCaps are going to be tough to score on.

The trades last year took out a big chunk of the Padres’ talent in the minors, but the bottom part of the organization is starting to reboot and next year’s draft should feature at least two picks in the first round which could get the system back on track fairly quickly.

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