Padres Bolster Bullpen in Trade With Rays

Friars send Margot and a minor leaguer to Tampa for Pagan

The Padres bullpen was already one of the best in baseball and arguably the best in the National League. The Padres had a bottleneck in the outfield with at least seven players vying for five or six spots.

In one move the Friars gave the outfield some breathing room while making their 'pen borderline scary.

San Diego traded centerfielder Manuel Margot and minor league catcher Logan Driscoll to Tampa Bay for right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan on Saturday.

Pagan is on his 4th team in four years. After spending 2017 with Seattle and 2018 in Oakland he had a breakout season with the Rays in 2019. By the end of the season he was Tampa Bay's closer, saving 20 games (including the one that put the Rays into the ALDS). He has serious swing-and-miss stuff, striking out 96 hitters with just 13 walks in 70.0 innings.

On most teams he would handle the 9th inning. In San Diego he'll likely be given right of first refusal on setup duties in front of Kirby Yates, who's emerged as the best closer in Major League Baseball. Pagan figures to be one of the eight relievers the Friars will have on their Opening Day roster, along with these guys:

Kirby Yates
Craig Stammen
Matt Strahm
Drew Pomeranz (signed for 4 years, $34 million)
Andres Munoz
Pierce Johnson (signed for 2 years, $5 million)
Jose Castillo

But the list of players who will be competing for spots in the big league bullpen is also awfully impressive. This is an incomplete look at players who'll provide depth and competition:

David Bednar
Michel Baez
Adrian Morejon
Cal Quantrill
Luis Perdomo
Javy Guerra
Kyle Barraclough
Trey Wingenter

Oh, and don't forget about Jake Cronenworth, who's also a middle infielder and likely to be the 26th man on the roster to add a ridiculous amount of position flexibility.

On the way out is Margot, who is one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball but his bat has not been able to match his glove. With him gone the Padres don't have a true centerfielder. That will leave it up to Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero (if healthy) and Taylor Trammell (if ready, although he's most likely ticketed for Triple-A El Paso to start the season) to man the middle of the Padres outfield.

The final piece of the deal is Driscoll, a Competitive Balance Round B pick in 2019 out of George Mason who hit .268 for short-season Tri City in his first taste of professional baseball.

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