Farhan Zaidi’s tenure with the Giants will likely be remembered for many things: taking a team that lost 98 games to a 107-win monster in three years, competing with the juggernaut Dodgers with half the payroll, and hopefully a ring. But his greatest skill comes from his ability to find diamonds in the rough, to take undervalued players from across the league and unlock their full potential. He got Mike Yastrzemski for a bag of peanuts (Tyler Herb) from the Baltimore Orioles and turned him into a player that finished 8th in MVP voting. He got LaMonte Wade Jr. from the Twins for Shaun Anderson and turned him into “Late Night LaMonte.” He got Thairo Estrada, now the starting 2B, from the Yankees for cash considerations. He’s derived value in every facet of the game, so whenever Zaidi trades for an otherwise unheralded player, you know the rest of baseball is perking up.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants completed a trade with the Seattle Mariners, where the Mariners sent Kevin Padlo to the Giants in exchange for cash considerations. Padlo had been DFA’d earlier this week after the Mariners acquired Stuart Fairchild from the Diamondbacks, also in exchange for cash considerations.
Padlo is a right-handed batter who plays both 1B and 3B, with passable defense at 3B. He was a former fifth round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2014, and spent two years in their minor league system before being dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016 as part of the Jake McGee/Germán Márquez trade, where he and Corey Dickerson headed the other way. At the time, Padlo was a highly ranked 3B prospect who showed up as the #5 prospect in the Rays system some time after the trade.
Padlo had a massive 2019 campaign with the Rays with a 152 wRC+ across 110 games in the AA and AAA levels, hitting 21 home runs across the two levels. He’s only appeared in 10 MLB games, though, hitting just .077/.200/.154 across 15 PAs with 9 strikeouts.
Padlo’s calling card is his power, which profiles well at third base. He has passable defense there. His major issues have been swing and miss, although he has a decent walk rate: he’s the definition of the modern baseball player and “three true outcomes.” He struck out over 25% of the time and walked over 15% of the time in that 2019 campaign where he hit 21 home runs.
Over almost 2300 PAs in the minors, Padlo has slashed .239/.350/.439 with 92 home runs. His most recent full campaign in 2021 saw him hit .224/.305/.443 (all at AAA) with 20 home runs.
The Giants might feel they can cut down on his strikeout rate, or just feel that cash considerations in return for a genuinely strong power hitter is a fair return. Either way, it’ll be exciting to see what Zaidi gets out of Padlo, if he sticks on the 40-man roster for any extended period of time.