Pittsburgh Pirates: Why Pick Up Infielder Kevin Padlo?

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates, Ben Cherington
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Padlo is a former Draft pick of the Colorado Rockies.  The Rockies drafted him in 2014 and saw him become a Top 20 prospect in their system.  The Rockies trade Padlo to the Rays before the 2016 season.  Ironically, he was the other player along with Corey Dickerson to go to the Rays in the deal.  Dickerson of course came to the Bucs before the 2018 season.

When he joined the Rays he was considered to be a Top 20 prospect in their system for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  However, he started to struggle offensively and fell off the prospect radar entering the 2019 season. He has a career minor league batting average of .241 so one can imagine why he did fall off prospect radars.

In 2021 he was claimed off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners.  The Mariners sent him to their Triple-A affiliate and Padlo had a breakthrough season.  He ended up with a slash line of .298/.388/.596.  The other part of the equation that makes Padlo interesting is his power projection.  The right-handed hitting infielder has a career ISO of over .200 in the minor leagues, which is well above average.

So why did Ben Cherington put a claim in on Kevin Padlo?  It is a low-risk high-reward situation.  Padlo is a former top prospect who was a part of a return in a significant trade.  He then spent the next 6 years in the Rays Organization, one of the best in Baseball.

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Furthermore, Ben Cherington worked for the division rival Toronto Blue Jays from 2016-2019.  There obviously is a good chance that Cherington has a lot of background knowledge on the former Rays’ prospect. If nothing more this is a player that has a chance to provide some much-needed right-handed power.  It will be interesting to see if he gets a chance this year.  My guess is he will.