Logan Forsythe is no longer a Padre.
Along with four others, the infielder was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for left-handed reliever Alex Torres and minor league hurler Jesse Hahn.
I’ll get to Torres and Hahn in a moment. But first, let’s talk about Forsythe. In 2012, he looked like he had arrived: in 315 at-bats, he batted a .273/.343./.390 split, with an OPS of .733, and eight stolen bases. And this was after he missed the first two months of the season with a foot injury.
It looked like he was on the way. In spring training 2013, he was projected to possibly be a “super utility” player, getting substantial time at second base by giving rookie Jedd Gyorko an occasional breather, doing the same for third baseman Chase Headley, make spot starts in the corner outfield spots, and possibly challenge Everth Cabrera to be the starting shortstop.
But then, three things happened: first, Forsythe developed plantar fasciitis, a major foot ailment which kept him out until June. Second, Cabrera took such full advantage of Forsythe’s absence, he outright won the everyday shortstop job by playing exceptional offense and defense.
When he was finally able to play, Forsythe did begin with a bang: in his first at-bat of the season, he hit a home run, temporarily making fans forget about Gyorko, who ironically enough went on the disabled list that same day.
After that first at-bat, though, the third thing happened: Forsythe’s bat went south: .214/.281/.332 with a .613 OBP in 220 at-bats.
While Forsythe did show some versatility, his lack of hitting made him expendable. With their recent acquisition of Ryan Jackson, the Padres now had three potential utility infielders, with Alexi Amarista still being in the picture. So one of them had to go, and that one was Forsythe.
In return, the Friars acquired the left-handed reliever they were seeking in Torres. He was impressive last year, throwing 58 innings in 39 games with 62 strikeouts and a miniscule 1.71 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Opponents batted just .159 against him, including .171 against left-handed batters.
While Hahn has talent, he is 24, has a history of injuries, and has not pitched above single-A ball. So perhaps the Padres will find they have a diamond in the rough with him. But with Hahn and the earlier addition of Joaquin Benoit, the Padres’ bullpen is now set, looking stronger even than last year’s stellar core of relievers.
All in all, this is a good trade for both teams, especially if Forsythe can break free of his history of injuries. I had high hopes for him as a Padre, but perhaps a change of scenery will do him good.
A footnote: Among those traded to Tampa Bay was Bruce Boxberger, he of the infamous Mat Latos trade. Since the Padres released Edison Volquez last summer, they now have only two players left to show for that swap: first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal.