Padres make first move of the offseason

Friday January 15, 2010

Finally! The Padres make a move and its a good one.

The San Diego Padres made their first real trade of the off season trading Third Baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and a minor league 2B Eric Sogard to the Oakland A’s for former Padre Scott Hairston and the A’s top outfield prospect Aaron Cunningham.

Scott Hairston fills an immediate hole for a RH Bat with power that can platoon in CF with Tony Gwynn. Padres fans are very familiar with Hairston. Many were sad to see him go when he was traded away in early July last season while hitting .299/.358/.533/.891 in a move that brought the Padres Sean Gallagher and two good young pitching prospects. Now he is back!

Hairston learned about the trade by reading and said in an interview with Craig of that being traded back to San Diego is “a dream come true“.

Cunningham, 23 and a 6th round draft pick by the White Sox in 2005, gives the Padres a power hitting RH bat with some speed in the outfield for the future.

With the A’s already having a crowded outfield, Cunningham became expendable when the A’s traded for another top OF prospect, Michel Taylor. He will likely start the 2010 season in Portland.

Playing mainly corner OF positions in 2009, Cunningham hit .302/.372/.479/.851 with 11 HR in 334 abs for AAA Sacramento. He also hit .151 over 60 abs in a 23 game stint in Oakland, his second short stay in an A’s uniform in the last two seasons.

The long expected trade of Kevin Kouzmanoff means Chase Headley will be moved out of left field, where his fielding was woefully inadequate, and get his chance to replace the NL record holder for fielding percentage at the hot corner.

I sincerely hope the move to his natural position of 3B also helps Headley feel more comfortable at the plate where he has not lived up to expectations so far in his career.

Moving Headley to 3B will also allow the Padres to give the teams best power hitting prospect, Kyle Blanks, a full season in left field. Blanks excelled in his first action in the majors last season before suffering a season ending foot injury in late August.

The only bummer about this trade is losing Sogard, the Padres top middle infield prospect in a system in dire need of middle infield prospects.

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