Major League Baseball's trade deadline came at 1:00 in San Diego. Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer did not mince words.
"We're not going to the playoffs this year," said Hoyer. "I don't think that's any secret. To not trade players to worry about the next 60 games, I don't think that's a responsible way to run a baseball team."
So Hoyer made a pair of trades that he hopes will put the Padres in the playoffs in future years. The rationale is simple. Build up the farm system with top prospects, even if it means parting with established fan favorites.
"If we have to use the seasons when we're not competitive to gain that kind of talent then we're going to do that," said Hoyer. "I think that's the right move."
The first move of the day sent relief pitcher Mike Adams to his home state of Texas. Adams became the Padres' 8th inning specialist and has closer-type stuff. He was arguably the most dominant member of the best bullpen in baseball. Now he gets a chance to finish games for the Rangers. Adams was a bit shocked by the trade.
"I totally understand why they would make a deal," said Adams. "I understand this organization needs to do what it has to do to get better. I hope the people they got in return will be some quality players and help this team out."
Those players are both highly-touted pitchers. Robbie Erlin is a 20-year-old left-hander who already knows how to pound the strike zone. This year between Single-A and Double-A he's struck out 123 while walking a ridiculously low 12 batters.
Baseball America calls Erlin one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Joe Wieland is a 21-year-old who also has great command. He's whiffed 132 and walked just 15. On July 29 he threw a no-hitter against the San Antonio Missions. Ironically, that's the Padres' Double-A affiliate and the team Wieland is about to join.
The day's second move came just a few minutes before the deadline. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick, the team's home run and RBI leader, was sent to Pittsburgh for a player to be named later (that means the Padres have until December 31 to scout the Pirates' system and choose a player) or cash.
Ludwick came to the Padres exactly one year ago in another trade from St. Louis. The Friars hoped he would push them over San Francisco and in to the playoffs, but Ludwick admitted it just didn't work out.
"I didn't play up to my capability," said Ludwick. "If I'd have played more like I have this year I feel like things would have been different. Unfortunately, I kind of stunk up the joint last year. This year I drove in runs, I did the things they wanted me to do last year."
The one trade the Padres did not make is the one everyone thought they would (and probably should) make. All-Star closer Heath Bell went nowhere. Hoyer said several factors, including the fact the team will receive valuable compensatory draft picks for Bell if he leaves as a free agent in the off-season, allowed the Padres to put a high price on Bell.
"No one met it, and I'm excited he's still in our bullpen right now."
Hoyer also said they're going to work on re-signing Bell, something he said is possible, but not probable.