In a surprising move, the Padres and Royals announced a trade last night:
- The Padres acquired LHP Tim Hill
- The Royals acquired OF Franchy Cordero and RHP Ronald Bolanos
Over the past two seasons Hill has emerged as one of the elite left-handed relievers in the game, with an 8.54 K/9, 2.85 BB/9 and 59.8% groundball rate. While he owns a 4.11 ERA, he was at 3.63 last season and more importantly owned a .186/.262/.203 slash against left-handed hitters. He’s an intriguing new weapon for the Padres, where he should join Emilio Pagan and Kirby Yates (not to mention Craig Stammen and Drew Pomeranz) to form an elite late-inning relief corps.
Hill is not going to close, however, so his value remains relatively unchanged. Instead this trade is all about Cordero, and the fallout of the move for the Royals and Padres. Let’s take a look at the winners, losers and fallout from the trade:
Neutral – Franchy Cordero
Cordero should have an opportunity to win a full-time role in Kansas City, though it’s not guaranteed. The outfield could still be Alex Gordon, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier, though the team could move Merrifield to 2B (over Nicky Lopez) or Dozier to 3B (over Maikel Franco). Long-term you know the Royals will give the 25-year old an opportunity, but it may not come initially.
You also have questions regarding Cordero’s ability (at Triple-A in ’17 he hit .326 with 17 HR and 15 SB over 419 PA, while adding 21 doubles and 18 triples) that need to be answered:
- Can he stay healthy? Cordero has missed time with various injuries the past two seasons
- Can he make contact? Even while thriving at Triple-A in ’17, he struggled with an 18.5% SwStr% and could be further exposed
- Can he be more than a platoon player? As he was thriving in ’17, he hit .227 against LHP at Triple-A
It’s possible that Cordero emerges but he’s not an obvious winner.
Winner – Wil Myers
Even with the addition of the DH to the National League it wasn’t a guarantee that Myers would return to a full-time starting role. While it’s still possible he gets left on the bench, the move to deal Cordero seemingly gives him an edge. That’s going to make him a winner, but does it mean he’s going to be able to produce?
As we said in our preseason Draft Guide, even with playing time it isn’t a guarantee:
He hasn’t hit better than .259 each year since his rookie season and has seen the power start to dry up (29 HR over the past two seasons). Considering he already benefited from a .344 BABIP, despite a pull heavy approach (21.6% Oppo%), and considering his ability to make contact took a significant step backwards (including an 11.40% Whiff% against fastball variations) and where is the upside?
In other words he’s an initial winner, but he could ultimately be neutral.
Winner – Ty France
While Myers is going to be the first thought as to potential winners of the deal, would it be shocking to see France or Josh Naylor ultimately be the biggest beneficiaries?
In 348 PA at Triple-A France hit .399 with 27 HR, and while he struggled in the Majors (.234 with 7 HR over 201 PA) it’s easy to see the potential. Just look at some of the underlying numbers:
- Approach – 10.4% SwStr%, 30.0% O-Swing% in the Majors
- Hard Hit % – 41.9% (league average was 34.5%)
- Launch Angle – 15.1 degrees
There’s a lot to like, and as a right-handed hitter would it be surprising to see him entrenched as the DH?
Neutral – Josh Naylor
Between Triple-A and the Majors Naylor had 35 doubles, 1 triple and 18 HR while showing a solid approach (9.1% SwStr% in the Majors). Couple that with a 41.6% Hard% and there’s upside, though a 4.5 degree launch angle (league average was 11.2 in ’19) and without much speed there are limitations.
Losers – Nicky Lopez/Maikel Franco
While they could both continue to start, the addition of Cordero could lead to them being out of a job as the Royals shift their outfield around. Lopez was never much of an option, as we noted:
He’s not an elite speedster and isn’t going to morph into a big-time power threat, and while he continued to make consistent contact (6.4% SwStr%) it’s simply not enough.
As for Franco, he was already a risky proposition and wasn’t a guarantee to thrive. As we said in the Draft Guide:
He’s never proven capable of hitting the ball consistently with authority (29.8% Hard% for his career), takes a pull heavy approach and popups have been an issue throughout his career (18.3% IFFB for his career, 24.1% in ’19). Those three things make it impossible for him to carry an elevated BABIP or AVG, despite an ability to limit the strikeouts, since he has swing and miss issues against anything besides fastballs (17.82% Whiff% against breaking balls, 23.36% against off-speed pitches).
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, MLB.com
Make sure to check out all of our Updated 2020 preseason rankings: