Padres Continue to Make Moves, Hot Stove Heating Up
The winter of 2020-21 has by far been the slowest in recent memory for Major League Baseball’s hot stove, but the San Diego Padres are not deterred. The majority of MLB teams have done very little, due in large part to smaller 2020 revenues, rules uncertainty for 2021, and an unwillingness to spend without knowing if fans will be allowed back this season.
None of those factors have stopped the Padres, as they once again dipped into their vast prospect vault on Monday to acquire starting pitcher Joe Musgrove. Already this winter, the Padres have traded for starting pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in separate deals with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs, respectively.
With all their offseason moves, the Padres are now +800 to win the World Series, the third-best odds overall. Only the defending champion LA Dodgers (+450) and the NY Yankees (+550) are bigger favorites. The Padres are +400 to win the National League behind the Dodgers at +220.
Monday’s deal also includes one of the other few teams to be active this winter, the New York Mets. Padres left-handed pitcher Joey Lucchesi heads to the Mets while the Pittsburgh Pirates pick up prospects in exchange for moving their 2020 Opening Day starter.
San Diego lost starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet to injuries at the end of the 2020 season but still made it to the NLCS before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lamet is expected back for the 2021 season, but Clevinger had Tommy John surgery after leaving in the second inning of the NLDS opener.
Musgrove was the Pirates Opening Day starter in 2020, and the San Diego area native is 29-38 with a 4.33 ERA in 108 career outings. He was part of the 2017 Houston Astros World Series Champions before being traded to Pittsburgh in the Gerrit Cole deal.
The Pirates are in yet another rebuild after finishing the 2020 season with the worst record in MLB. They already traded away slugger Josh Bell and now move Musgrove for prospects. Coming to the Pirates are 19-year-old outfielder Hudson Head, catcher Endy Rodriguez, left-handed pitcher Omar Cruz, right-handed pitcher Drake Fellows, and right-handed pitcher David Bednar. MLB Pipeline ranked Head as the Padres No. 8 prospect, while Cruz was at No. 17 and Rodriguez was ranked as the Mets No. 14 prospect.
Nationals Also Making Moves
After watching NL East rivals New York Mets make a big trade last week for shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Washington Nationals signed veteran left-hander Jon Lester on Monday. The 37-year-old is the second member of the Chicago Cubs to sign with the Nationals this month, joining outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
Lester joins a veteran-laden rotation in Washington with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. However, he is coming off a rough season with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts during the truncated 2020 campaign. In 2019 Lester posted a 4.46 ERA in 31 starts and allowed 205 hits in 171 2/3 innings. He will reunite with pitching coach Jim Hickey and manager Davy Martinez who were both members of the Cubs' World Series Champions staff in 2016.
The Nationals have already bolstered their lineup with Schwarber and Bell, acquired from Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve. The one-year deal for Lester means both he and Scherzer will be free agents after the 2021 season while shortstop Trea Turner can hit the market in 2022, the Nats window is closing rapidly.
The Nationals are now +475 to win the NL East, behind the Atlanta Braves (+125) and the NY Mets (+200). They have the fifth-lowest odds to win the National League at +1400 and are +3000 to win their second World Series in three years.
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