The Padres needed a new manager. They also were getting new uniforms. But those changes alone, while welcome, weren't all the team needed in hopes of contending in 2020. San Diego needed new players. And they started getting them Wednesday.
Out with Eric Lauer and Luis Urias.
In with Zach Davies and Trent Grisham.
A.J. Preller's first major move of the offseason sent their 2019 Opening Day starter and presumed second baseman of the future to Milwaukee. What they got in return were a couple players that meet major needs.
Davies is a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher coming off a stellar season. He went 10-7 for the Brewers, with a career-low 3.55 ERA. Only once in his four-plus year MLB career has he posted an ERA north of four. In 2017 he had 33 starts and posted 17 wins - second most in the National League.
He provides stability in place of Lauer, who went 8-10 with a 4.45 ERA in his second big league season. While the lefty struggled mightily on the road against NL West rival Colorado, his 5-0 record and 2.11 ERA against the Dodgers was a bright spot. Davies has been just as solid against Los Angeles, with a 1.98 mark in 36.1 innings.
Eric Lauer vs. the Dodgers 📈
Eric Lauer at Coors Field 📉
He has a 2.11 ERA in 42.2 Innings against LA. In Colorado? An ugly 18.82 over 11 innings.
Zach Davies has been good vs. the Dodgers: 1.98 ERA in 36.1 Innings. And survived his first start at Coors - 1 ER in 5.1 IP. pic.twitter.com/0ymA64aPyB — Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) November 27, 2019
The tougher departure for Padre fans to process will be that of Urias, who never hit his stride in the parts of two seasons spent at Petco. The former No. 3 prospect was hitting .091 after 55 at bats in 2019. He raised that number to .223 by season's end after hitting .238 in August and .300 in September.
Urias flashed some promise defensively, but with Fernando Tatis Jr. injured at the end of the season, Urias struggled at times playing shorstop.
His exit leaves a question mark at second base, where Greg Garcia is the best remaining option on the roster. Ty France could also step in.
Preller got a much needed left-handed bat in Grisham. The 2015 15th pick made his Major League debut in 2019. He hit .231 with six home runs and 24 RBI. He played all three outfield positions and had a perfect fielding percentage.
The Padres are banking on his potential. Grisham was the Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2019.
Preller's moves didn't stop there. According to MLB Network Insider Joel Sherman the Padres signed Drew Pomeranz to a four-year deal $34 million deal. The 31-year-old left-hander was a productive starter for San Diego in 2016, posting a 2.47 ERA over 17 starts. He struggled in that role for San Francisco to start 2019, before moving to the bullpen for Milwaukee.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Pomeranz had a 1.88 ERA in 28 relief appearances late in the season. During that stretch he fanned 50 of the 106 batters he faced.