The Rays have traded outfielder Wil Myers to the Padres in exchange for a prospect package highlighted by pitcher Joe Ross and 2014 first-round pick shortstop Trea Turner, wrapping up a three-team trade with the Nationals that first appeared in rumor form Tuesday. ESPN's Jim Bowden was the first to report a deal was complete, with Bob Nightengale confirming, while FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the players involved. The Rays aren't keeping either of those prospects, however, as they are flipping them to the Nationals for outfielder Steven Souza.
All told, Ross and Turner would go from the Padres to the Nationals, with Turner going as a player to be named later since he was drafted this past June. Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan, and minor-league pitchers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes would go to the Padres from the Rays. The Rays would end up with backstop Rene Rivera, pitcher Burch Smith, and minor-league first baseman Jake Bauers from the Padres, with Souza and 2013 draft pick Travis Ott coming from the Nationals.
Turner gives Washington a potential long-term replacement at shortstop for Ian Desmond, who will be a free agent after 2015.
Myers was considered a cornerstone the Rays could build around when he was first acquired before the 2013 season, but two years later, he's at the center of another deal to a team taking a huge risk in order to contend. Souza is a late-bloomer the Rays are hoping can replace Myers in their outfield for the next six years, and the Nationals are the predators who stole away the best prospect in the deal just by dealing Souza, who was blocked in Washington.
The Padres started the offseason in desperate need of offense, but added five years of Matt Kemp at a discounted price in a trade with the Dodgers, and now have added Myers to the mix as well. The lineup isn't perfect by any means, but Myers is 24 and isn't a free agent until 2020 at the earliest, while Kemp can still mash and has a huge chunk of his tab being paid for by Los Angeles. There is time yet to add to this, and maybe as soon as this offseason if the Padres are as interested in winning in 2015 as they appear to be. Trading Rivera for Hanigan creates some potential problems behind the plate, but retaining their top prospect, catcher Austin Hedges, might be how they solve that issue at some point next summer.
New general manager A.J. Preller is taking an aggressive stance with the Padres in the first months of his tenure, but it's likely the right move. The Padres have enviable prospect depth, but likely lack a franchise-changing youth in the group. Using that depth to attempt to bring in such a player in Myers -- and to a much older, more expensive extent, Kemp -- makes all the sense in the world for Preller and co.
As for the Rays, they've lost their ace David Price, their general manager Andrew Friedman, and their manager Joe Maddon since July. They aren't necessarily rebuilding, as there is still a lot of talent in Tampa Bay and the pitching is legitimate even sans Price -- especially once Matt Moore is back from Tommy John surgery -- but they are certainly going for the soft reset. Myers was young enough to be a major piece in the Rays' future, but he also represented an opportunity to bring in quality youth that the farm system was in need of. Friedman's time in Tampa Bay was many things, but it was not a successful era of drafting: there is a reason the Rays are known for these kinds of veteran-for-youth trades, and it's not just to cut costs, as pre-arbitration Myers can attest to.