Guardians & Padres Trade Hits & Runs

Guardians & Padres Trade Hits & Runs
(Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Richard Lewis/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

GOODYEAR, Az.  — Tim Lopes and Jose Azocar both had three of San Diego’s 14 hits Thursday as the San Diego Padres defeated the Cleveland Guardians, 6-4.

The teams, involved in a few blockbuster trades through the years, exchanged hits and runs early. The Padres pulled away against rookie reliever Konnor Pilkington (7.70 spring ERA). Azocar’s two-run homer off the left-hander in the fifth put the Padres ahead, 4-2.  San Diego scored twice more off him in the seventh.

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Matt Carpenter had an RBI double and scored on David Dahl‘s single in the Padres’ first.  Zack Collins had an RBI single and Cleveland tied it at 2 when Gabriel Arias scored on a double play in the second. Collins, signed this winter and competing for the backup catcher’s spot to Mike Zunino, is hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a homer. He pounded 67 homers in the minors for the White Sox but hit .185 with 11 homers over parts of three MLB seasons. Chicago made him a first-round pick in 2016 after the lefty swinger batted .320 with 42 homers over a three-year college career at the University of Miami.

Cleveland starter Hunter Gaddis yielded six hits and two runs over three innings; Padres starter Michael Wacha gave up three hits and two runs over three. Neither issued a walk. Closers Josh Hader of San Diego and Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase each worked one scoreless inning.

Minor-league infielders Jose Tena and Angel Martinez had two-out RBI singles in the Guardians’ ninth.

Cleveland Blessed By Padres In Trades

Cleveland and San Diego have been involved in 37 various player transactions since the Padres were formed in 1968 and began NL play in 1969. In most cases, the Padres did not make wise moves. Here’s a look at 10 significant trades between the ball clubs:

  1. December 1968: Cleveland deals 1B Bill Davis for SS Zoilo Versalles

Significant only as the first deal between the teams, Davis was a big slugger from Minnesota. He hit .298 with 71 homers in the minors and .181 with one homer in the majors. Versalles had been picked by San Diego in the expansion draft. He was the 1965 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins (.273, 19 homers, 126 runs, 77 RBI, 27 steals). In 72 games for Cleveland at age 29, he had one homer, 13 RBI, and was sold to Washington in July.

Not Impactful, But Interesting

  1. June 1974: LHPs Brent Strom & Terry Ley for RHP Steve Arlin

Arlin had been part of San Diego’s rotation for three seasons. In Cleveland, he went 2-5 with a 6.60 ERA at age 28 and retired. His grandfather Harold was a legendary broadcaster at KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. He was the first in the world to announce on radio Presidental election results (Nov. 2, 1920), a baseball game (Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh Pirates, Aug. 5, 1921), a tennis match (Davis Cup, Australia-Great Britain, Aug. 6, 1921), a football game (West Virginia-Pittsburgh, Oct. 8, 1921), and a boxing match (Jack Dempsey vs. Luis Firpo for heavyweight title, Sept. 14, 1923).

Strom went 2-10 with a 4.61 ERA in 1973 for Cleveland; 20-26 with a 3.47 ERA in three seasons for the Padres. He was the second pitcher to have the elbow operation known as Tommy John Surgery in 1978. He has been a highly respective pitching coach for more than 40 years for seven organizations, most notably the Houston Astros and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks.

More Help For Cleveland

  1. June 1978: LHP Dennis Kinney for RHP Dan Spillner

Kinney was 0-2 in 18 games as a Cleveland rookie before the deal. He went 4-7 in three years in San Diego, then off to other clubs with little results. He pitched in 97 MLB games overall, all in relief. Spillner had been a mediocre swingman (24-41, 4.25 ERA) in five seasons in San Diego. He embraced the role in seven years in Cleveland (46-45, 41 saves) including a 16-10 record as a starter in 1980. On Aug. 20, 1980, he took a no-hitter into the ninth in Chicago. He fanned the dangerous Harold Baines, then yielded a seeing-eye ground single to Leo Sutherland before getting two more outs for a 3-0 win. Sutherland had only 24 other MLB career hits.

  1. June 1979: 3B-OF Paul Dade for 1B Mike Hargrove

Steal City for Cleveland. Dade hit .277 with 40 steals in three years in Cleveland, .262 with 17 steals in two years in San Diego, and then went off to play in Japan.

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“Grover”, the 1974 AL Rookie of the year with the Rangers had five fine years in Texas but was miserable after being dealt to the Padres: .192 average with 0 homers in 52 games. That immediately changed in Cleveland, as the “Human Rain Delay” (for his maddening ritual of twitches between EVERY pitch) hit .325 with 10 homers in 100 games to finish out 1979. He hit 292 in seven years overall in Cleveland, then managed the team to a 721-591 record over nine years with two AL pennants and five consecutive playoff appearances.

Oddly, Padres Prevail

  1. November 1982: RHP Ed Whitson for RHP Juan Eichelberger, 1B-OF Broderick Perkins

Whitson went 4-2 with two saves in his only year in Cleveland. He flourished in San Diego (77-72, 3.69) in eight years as a starter. Eichelberger appeared to have promise after five so-so seasons in San Diego. He was terrible in Cleveland: 4-11, 4.90 ERA in 28 games, and released. Before he went, he left a legacy for being, umm … odd. His teammates played pranks on him. One was to turn the fresh-air jets on the team plane in Eichelberger’s direction. The pitcher invariably would complain to traveling secretary Mike Seghi that he always got a seat near an open window. Seghi would promise “no open window on the next flight” as players snickered. Perkins hit .276 as a part-timer for five years in San Diego and .252 with zero homers for Cleveland. He also was released.

What A Blockbuster!

  1. December 1989: OF Joe Carter for C Sandy Alomar Jr, INF Carlos Baerga, OF Chris James

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Wow! Carter had been great in Cleveland for six years (151 homers, 126 steals, 530 RBI) and would be for eight more seasons. He was good for one year in San Diego (24 homers, 22 steals, 115 RBI) then was traded to Toronto with Roberto Alomar in another huge deal for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff!

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The deal launched Cleveland’s turnaround from four decades of dismal failure to an era of excellence. Alomar was the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year, MVP of the 1997 All-Star Game, and hit .277 over 11 years for Cleveland at the height of his 20-year career. For his first six seasons in Cleveland, Baerga was one of the finest offensive second basemen in history, hitting over .300 four times with power. He played 14 seasons for six teams. James hit .299 with 70 RBI in his first year in Cleveland during a 10-year career for eight clubs. He had a Cleveland club-record 9 RBI with two homers and two singles in a 20-6 win over Oakland on May 4, 1991.

A Cy Young Winner

    1. July 2010: RHP Jake Westbrook for RHP Corey Kluber

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Westbrook, a fine pitcher for nine years in Cleveland went to St. Louis in this three-team deal at the trade deadline. The Padres got two players from the Cardinals, including slugger Ryan Ludwick. Kluber needed more work in the minors until joining Cleveland’s rotation for good in 2013. The next year he went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and won the AL Cy Young Award. In 2017, he won it again by going 18-4 with a .2.25 ERA. In 2018, he went 20-7 with a .2.89 ERA. Overall, the right-hander had a 98-58 (.626) record, 3.16 ERA, and 1,431 strikeouts in 208 games for Cleveland. He pitched one game for Texas and had Tommy John surgery in 2020, tossed a no-hitter for the Yankees in 2021, went 10-10 for Tampa Bay last year, and recently signed with Boston.

Getting Some Relief

  1. July 2018: C Francisco Mejia for RHP Adam Cimber, LHP Brad Hand

Mejia was an incredible hitter in the minors but batted .133 in 12 games for Cleveland. In five years for San Diego (.229) and the Tampa Bay Rays (.250) he has totaled 24 homers and been so-so behind the plate. Cimber had a couple of OK years in middle relief for Cleveland and has been very good for Toronto the past two seasons. Hand was great for three years in San Diego (46 saves, 2.66 ERA), three more in Cleveland (58 saves, 2.78 ERA), and helped the Phillies get to the World Series last year. He’s now with Colorado, his seventh team in 13 years.

Blockbuster II

  1. July 2019: RHP Trevor Bauer for OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen, INF Victor Nova, OF Yasiel Puig, LHP Scott Moss.

Bauer was usually good (67-53), though controversial for seven seasons in Cleveland, and went to Cincinnati in this three-team, trading deadline swap.  The oft-troubled pitcher won the NL Cy Young Award in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, signed a huge deal with the Los Angles Dodgers, spent two years in all sorts of legal problems, and was released. Reyes hit 58 homers in four years in Cleveland. His batting average dipped as his weight soared and he went to the Cubs on waivers last August. He’s now with the Kansas City Royals. The other four accomplished little after the deal. San Diego got outfielder Taylor Trammell from the Cincinnati Reds. He was dealt to the Seattle Mariners a month later. This one went from sizzle to fizzle.

Blockbuster III

  1. August 2020: RHP Mike Clevinger, OF Greg Allen, RHP Mike Waldron for RHP Cal Quantrill, 1B-OF Josh Naylor, C Austin Hedges, INFs Owen Miller and Gabriel Arias, LHP Joey Cantillo.

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Clevinger (42-22, 3.20 ERA for Cleveland in five seasons) missed all of 2021 after surgery and was 9-8 in only 27 games for San Diego. He’s now with the Chicago White Sox. Allen, a promising prospect, has not done much for four MLB teams (.232, 45 steals) over six seasons. Waldron is approaching Triple-A status, as is Cantillo for Cleveland. Cantillo missed all of 2020 after surgery and was tremendous at Double-A Akron (4-3, 1.93 ERA, 87 strikeouts, 38 hits allowed) in 2022. Hedges, now with Pittsburgh, was Cleveland’s great-fielding, non-hitting starting catcher for two years; Miller was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers after 190 games for Cleveland as a reserve. Quantrill is Cleveland’s No. 2 starter, Naylor a middle-of-the-order mainstay, and Arias is just starting to display his offensive ability as a rookie. This one is the gift that keeps on giving for Cleveland.

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