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Padres get Mitch Moreland from Boston in trade for two prospects

Padres acquired Mitch Moreland from Boston.
Mitch Moreland, shown Friday during game at Fenway Park, is the newest Padres acquisition.
(Associated Press)

Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario head to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for the first baseman/designated hitter.

The Padres continued a rare build toward a playoff push by adding offense on Sunday, acquiring Mitch Moreland from the Boston Red Sox.

Moreland, who is batting .328 with a .430 on-base percentage and eight home runs this season, is likely to serve as the team’s primary designated hitter.

“It’s pretty clear,” manager Jayce Tingler said of the message sent by the acquisitions of Moreland and reliever Trevor Rosenthal. “The players and staff are excited about it. At the same time, we’re preparing for today’s game. But there is a sense of excitement about that. … When you’re able to make a move, the one we did yesterday and the one this morning it does create a positive buzz in the clubhouse.”

On Saturday, the Padres acquired Rosenthal from Kansas City in exchange for outfielder Edward Olivares and a player to be named later. Rosenthal arrived in Denver on Sunday and is available for the afternoon game against the Rockies.

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Third baseman Hudson Potts and outfielder Jeisson Rosario, two of the Padres’ top 30 prospects, were sent to the Red Sox. Potts was ranked 16th and Rosario 19th, according to MLB.com. Both had to be protected on the 40-man roster in the coming offseason or be subject to the Rule 5 draft.

Since only players in a team’s 60-man pool this season can be named in trades, Potts and Rosario were added to the pool prior to the trade, as a formality. Any trades involving players not in the pool are technically for a player to be named later.

The Padres, who have not been to the postseason since 2006, rank third in the majors with a .340 on-base percentage and second with an .819 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). But they have not received consistent production from the DH spot.

The four players who have primarily served as the Padres’ DH this season are hitting a combined .205 with a .574 OPS in 27 starts. Josh Naylor is 2-for-17 in six starts as DH against right-handed starting pitchers.

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Moreland, 34, has a .332 OBP and .802 OPS over the past four seasons. In particular, the left-handed hitter plays against right-handed pitchers and hits them well. He is batting 1.225 OPS in 70 plate appearances against righties this season. He has three singles in eight at-bats against lefties.

The 11-year veteran has appeared in three World Series, including the one the Red Sox won in 2018. He is under team control in 2021 with a team option for $3 million. He also went to the World Series with the Texas Rangers in 2010 and ’11 and has been to the playoffs four other years.

Moreland was with the Rangers when Padres General Manager A.J. Preller was in Texas’ front office. Tingler also was a member of that organization through Moreland’s time with the Rangers, including as a member of the major league coaching staff.

“Being able to add his makeup, character that will blend in very well in this clubhouse, it’s exciting,” Tingler said. “… Mitch is one of the toughest men I’ve been around. He’s been known to play through pain. He’s a big, lumbering man. He’s hard-nosed. He doesn’t back down. His play shows that. He’s respected among his peers and people in the game.”

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The Padres remain engaged in talks about finding more pitching. They have talked to virtually every team about available starters, as they have not gotten the length or performance they expected from Chris Paddack and Garrett Richards. But some in the league say their focus seems to be on finding another reliever.

“I would say we’ll wait and see,” Tingler said. “I know A.J. very well, and I think you guys know him well. He doesn’t sleep, and he’s relentless.”

Updates:

5:02 PM, Aug. 30, 2020: This story was updated with quotes from Jayce Tingler.

5:02 PM, Aug. 30, 2020: This story was updated with further reporting.


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