SF Giants division rival Padres continue to strengthen roster
By John Likanje
The San Diego Padres have been one of the most exciting MLB teams of the season and they’ve dived all-in at the deadline. What’s it mean for the SF Giants?
Things are only going to get harder for the SF Giants in the NL West. This year and beyond. The Padres, arguably the most surprising team in baseball, aren’t waiting around to observe what moves their division rivals make. Early on the day of the MLB trade deadline, they continued to bolster their roster by trading for Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger as part of a nine-player transaction.
As of Monday morning, Giants are nine games behind the National League West division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and four games back of the Padres for second place. To make matters worse, the Giants trail three teams in a crowded Wild Card race (seven teams are within two games of the Colorado Rockies for the final postseason slot).
Clevinger was only limited to four starts after being optioned earlier this season for violating team rules. But the 6-foot-4 right-hander was dominant whenever he took the mound. In 2020, he had a 1-1 record with a 3.18 earned run average and 21 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.
That wasn’t an aberration either. Over his career, Clevinger has compiled 584 strikeouts in 523 1/3 innings over his five-year career.
Clevinger was an integral reliever for the Indians in the postseason between 2016 and 2018 as well. He accrued 15 strikeouts in 12 frames, including nine in Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series against the Houston Astros.
Expect Clevinger to make an immediate impact for a Padres squad which has struggled to find consistent starting pitching to support their loaded lineup.
The Padres front-office aggressiveness since last offseason has taken them from a postseason dark horse to possibly a legitimate title contender.
Last winter, the team made 20 offseason acquisitions, many of whom have helped the team this year. Now, over the last three days, the Padres have added Clevinger, Austin Adams, Greg Allen, Dan Altavilla, Jason Castro, Mitch Moreland, Austin Nola and Trevor Rosenthal.
The Giants and Padres have received much-needed help from the basement-dwelling Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks, who are 11.5 games out of first place and seven games under .500 with 25 contests left, traded southpaw Robbie Ray to the Toronto Blue Jays and outfielder Starling Marte to the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon.
The Giants and Padres have seven head-to-head matchups remaining: a four-game series at Petco Park Sep. 10-13 and a three-game set at Oracle Park to end the season Sep. 25-27. Those series already looked tough and now it looks like the Giants will have to bring all they have against an even more talented roster.