The San Diego Padres took a trade option off the market for the New York Yankees on Monday when they landed Joe Musgrove in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bummer? Eh, not really.
Musgrove, who does have intriguing upside, isn’t exactly what the Yankees need right now. The Yankees already have upside in the form of Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. What’s needed is a bonafide No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole. Adding Corey Kluber was a start, but at this point it feels like he’ll top out as a No. 3 arm.
Nonetheless, the Padres will once again be praised for their efforts. Should they be? Sure! General manager AJ Preller is wheeling and dealing like a madman, turning the once lowly Pads into World Series contenders. However, his actions in this instance should not be compared to Brian Cashman’s because they’re looking for much different things.
The Padres already have a stacked rotation. Adding a guy like Musgrove who has great potential to be a dangerous back end starter was the move for Preller to make. That’s what happens when you already have Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack and Mike Clevinger (though he won’t be back until 2022).
When you look at it through that lens, it’s a necessary transaction to splurge on, because, well, the Padres didn’t exactly go bargain shopping here.
You’ll hear some people saying, “But the Padres didn’t give up a single top-100 MLB prospect. Again!” Um, well, Musgrove isn’t worth a top-100 MLB prospect, unless you’re just maybe trading one prospect. He’s also probably not worth five players, one of which here is Joey Lucchesi, who, across his first two MLB seasons in 2018 and 2019, very much looked like a similarly-effective arm as Musgrove. The right-hander owns a 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 308 strikeouts across 288.1 innings (59 games, 58 of which were starts).
Musgrove? 4.33 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 465 strikeouts across 496.2 innings (108 total games, 83 of which were starts).
We’re not knocking the Padres here. At all. But what we will say is that the Yankees don’t need to be surrendering five players in a deal for a pitcher they’re going to have to work hard with to unlock his potential. And if we’re being honest? The Yankees aren’t good at that.
So please, before you start blowing smoke up Preller’s rear end, just know this: the Padres have a loaded farm system in which they can afford to throw non-top guys around and sell it as a good deal, and they’re currently operating on a very different wavelength than the Yankees.
Cashman didn’t need to pay this price, and it sure feels good that there’s confirmation of that because we know how restless fans are getting when it comes to discussing starting rotation trade options. Let the Pads be the Pads. Let the Yanks go out and get that co-ace behind Cole.