Today, just seconds before the 1pm pacific trading deadline, we acquired LHP Clayton Richard, LHP Aaron Poreda, RHP Adam Russell, and RHP Dexter Carter from the White Sox for RHP Jake Peavy. The final minutes were quite a whirlwind, but in the end it got done.
Here's a quick breakdown of each guy:
Clayton Richard - A 25 year old, 6'5" left-hander out of the University of Michigan, Clayton has spent the entire 2009 season in the Majors with the White Sox. Between 14 starts and 12 relief appearances he has compiled a 4.65 ERA in 89 innings. Particularly tough on left-handed hitters, Clayton has limited them to a .643 ops over his 137 innings in the big leagues. A good strike thrower who also gets more than his share of groundballs, Clayton will move right into our rotation in San Diego.
Aaron Poreda - The first round pick of the White Sox in 2007, Aaron made his Major League debut earlier this season out of the bullpen for the Sox. However, he had spent essentially his entire minor league career as a starter, and that's how we see him fitting with us in the long term. A power left-hander at 6'6", 240 lbs, Aaron has thrown up to 96 mph and generally sits in the 93-94 range. Like Clayton Richard, Aaron is a good strike thrower who also generates groundballs. Over the course of this season in the minors (AA and AAA) he has a 2.54 ERA with 78 k's in 74.1 innings. He'll be reporting to AAA Portland where he'll be part of that rotation.
Adam Russell - At 6'8", 250 lbs and possessing a fastball that runs as high as 97 mph, Adam can be an intimidating presence on the mound. Moved to the bullpen full time in 2008, Adam has split the past two seasons between AAA and the ML (3.07 ERA in AAA and a 5.19 ERA in the ML in 26ip). Like Poreda, he'll report to Portland where he'll go into the bullpen to complete a trio of potential back end bullpen types with 96-97 mph fastballs - Webb, DeLaCruz, and Russell.
Dexter Carter - A 13th round pick in 2008 out of Old Dominion, Dexter is currently leading the South Atlantic League in strikeouts with 143 in 118 ip (meanwhile, our own Simon Castro is leading the Midwest League, the other A league, in k's). Dexter is 6'6", 200 lbs and has a fastball that runs anywhere between 87 and 93 mph. So far as a professional he has a combined 2.80 ERA in 184 innings with with 147 hits and 57 walks allowed while striking out 232. Not a bad start to a career.
In summary, we needed a frontcourt to be able to compete against some of our 2009 draftees.
In all seriousness, we're very excited about the return here. In the past week we've added four young pitchers with Major League experience and power arms (Gallagher, Richard, Poreda, and Russell). In trading someone like Jake, we did not want to have to take all A-ball prospects who inevitably carry high risk and don't show up in Petco for years to come (if they do at all). Instead, we have guys who can contribute either immediately or very soon and who have the chance to be part of our Club for many years going forward. We may have to reload, but that doesn't mean we have to take years to do it.
We need look no further than 2009 to illustrate just how important starting pitching and particularly depth in starting pitching is to winning in the Major Leagues and especially in Petco (we're currently second to last in the NL in ERA for starters). The playoff caliber clubs here in San Diego from 2004-2007 all had solid starting staffs, and two of them (2006 and 2007) led the NL in starter's ERA. We need to get back there, and we believe we can.
Doing it without Jake, of course, makes it challenging. He has been nothing short of a tremendous pitcher for the Padres. We're incredibly fortunate to have had him here, and it was a difficult decision to trade him, as I'm sure it was a difficult decision for him to approve the trade. After all, though this is a business, it is a personal one, not only for us, but also for the players, their families, and all of the fans.
That having been said, though we're not yet all the way to where we want to be, this deal was a significant step toward giving us a better chance to win in 2010 and beyond. Our concentration of talent made us deeply vulnerable to the unexpected, so it's important for us to build quality balance - an imperative that we've been aggressively pursuing and that this deal helps us achieve. We're certainly a younger team, but we're very excited about the potential of these players, especially as many of them (Blanks, Latos, Cabrera, etc) are beginning to show what they can do at the ML level.
It's going to be fun to see what these guys can do.