That's right folks, you read that right. Former Padre starting pitcher Bruce Hurst was traded for pitcher Andrew Cashner....well kind of. While shooting Episode 1 of Padres and Pints, Geoff Young, myself, Beautown & the Avenger-in-Chief were discussing some random Padres stuff, off camera, whilst drinking some amazing Ballast Point. Anthony Rizzo had just been traded and we were all scratching our heads. Not because we hated the deal. Not because it was a shock to us all. But mainly because we got a relief pitcher in return. Yes he's a solid arm, but why are the Padres, owners of one of the finest pitching parks in baseball, trading for a relief pitcher? Regardless of what many say, it's hard to believe that a hard thrower with arm issues in the past, will ever stick around in the starting rotation. Possible, but not likely. Regardless of all that, we started to kind of work our ways backward a little and mentioned some trades that led to Cashner coming to San Diego. It all starts with Bruce Hurst and let's just say he has treated us well over the years.
December 8th, 1988: Padres sign Free Agent Starting Pitcher Bruce Hurst
This was actually a big time signing for the Padres and is the begining of our little experiment. Hurst was coming off a season in which he went 18-6 for the Boston Red Sox and finished 5th in the AL Cy Young voting and 14th in the AL MVP race. He signed a Padres high $1.733 million contract, which at the time was the 10th highest for pitchers. See that younger Padres fans!! At one time the Padres actually had a shot at signing some big time free agents. Hurst had a fantastic first two years in San Diego posting a combined +11.7 WAR. Being that he was already 31 years old at his signing, predictably Hurst's numbers started to drop as he posted WARs of +2.7 & +1.1 the next two seasons. After starting 2 games in the 1993 season and giving up 6 earned runs in only 4.1 innings pitched Hurst was shipped off to the Colorado Rockies.
Hurst +15 WAR
The Padres absolutely swindled the Rockies in this deal. Hurst only pitched in 3 games for the Rockies in 1993 and after giving the Padres a combined WAR of +14.5 over 6 seasons, Harris gave the Rockies a -1.4 WAR in 1 season+ while costing them almost $2 million in the process. The Padres on the other hand got a catcher in Brad Ausmus who would provide the Padres with 3 decent seasons before being shipped off for 2 key pieces of the 1996 National League West championship squad (Gomez & Flaherty). They also got Doug Bochtler who gave the Padres 3 solid seasons in the bullpen before being traded to Oakland. And lastly the throw-in in this deal, Andy Ashby. He would only go on to pitch 8 years in San Diego, become a 2 time All-Star, a fan favorite and lead this team to the World Series.
Ausmus +3.3 WAR (4 seasons)
Bochtler +2 WAR (3 Seasons) Total +27.8 WAR
Ashby +22.5 WAR (8 Seasons)
Hurst +0.1 WAR (1 Season) Total -1.3 WAR
Harris -1.4 WAR (2 seasons)
After the amazing run of 1998 things slowly started to fall apart in San Diego. 1999 saw the team struggle to a 74-88 record, good for 4th in the NL West. Caminiti was gone. Finley was gone. Brown was gone. Tony's career was winding down. So with that, we also saw the trade of Andy Ashby. Ashby didn't even make it to 1 full season in Philadelphia before being traded to Atlanta. On the flip side Loewer spent most of his time on the DL or in the Minors with the same being said for Montgomery. Adam Eaton turned out to be the only semi bright spot in this whole trade, sticking in San Diego for 6 seasons.
Loewer -1.1 WAR (2 Seasons)
Montgomery -0.3 WAR (1 Season) Total +3 WAR
Eaton +4.4 WAR (6 Seasons)
Ashby -0.9 WAR (1 Season) Total -0.9 WAR
OK so the Phillies trade wasn't as big of a thrashing as the previous trade or the initial signing but the Bruce Hurst Magic bounces back in a big way with this trade. Aki pitched well for the Rangers in 2 seasons before getting hurt and shutting down his career. Eaton would pitch terrible for them in his only season. And lastly Killian would never make the Majors. Sledge was pretty bad in San Diego before being shipped off to Japan, but I think the other 2 guys make up for things. When healthy, Young was an All-Star caliber pitcher. He stuck around in San Diego for 5 seasons and pitched well for most of them. Gonzalez racked up 2 gold glove awards, 3 All-Star appearances and recieved MVP consideration in 4 out of his 5 seasons here.
Sledge -0.5 WAR (2 Seasons)
Young +7.5 WAR (5 Seasons) Total +29.4 WAR
Gonzalez +22.4 (5 Seasons)
Otsuka +3.7 WAR (2 Seasons) Total +4.3 WAR
Eaton +0.6 (1 Season)
Being that this trade is so recent we'll leave out the WAR. With the exception of Patterson and Rizzo's cup of coffee, we don't know what these guys will do at the Major League level just yet. We obviously know what Adrian is doing and what he's capable of doing, so as a Padre fan that just gives us a little more reason to leave the numbers out of this one. Plus if I tell you how awesome of a season Adrian had last year that would ruin my Bruce Hurst Magic Touch post.
With the acquistion of Yonder Alonso, Rizzo became expendable. With former GM Jed Hoyer now in Chicago, it was the perfect matchup (I guess?). I don't like including Cates in the deal because I felt he had potential and I also don't like acquiring a 5'10" 170 pound Korean elf that will probably never make the majors. But regardless of what I think it'll be interesting to see how Rizzo, Cashner and Alonso do this season.