The one-time crown jewel of the Padres Dominican program, Rymer Liriano, was traded to the Brewers yesterday after being DFA’ed last week. Liriano ranked as the 39th-best prospect in all of baseball, by Baseball Prospectus, three years ago, but a lost season due to Tommy John surgery combined with major-league struggles and a roster crunch left him expendable and, ultimately, a Brewer.
Jason Parks summed up Liriano’s prospects back in 2013:
Liriano will return to the Texas League, where the weaknesses in his swing were exposed in 2012, leading to weaker contact and swings and misses. If he can find his swing rhythm and stay consistent, the power is going to emerge, and it might be bigger than projected. The strength is there, the bat speed is there, but so far, the total offensive package hasn’t come together. If it does, Liriano is a monster. But even if it doesn’t arrive, he still has enough to play at the highest level.
If you’re at least mildly surprised that Liriano was cast aside this quickly, well . . . you’re not alone. While his prospect star has undoubtedly dimmed in recent years, he’s still just 24, he hit .292/.383/.460 last season in Triple-A, and he’s clearly more interesting than a number of players on the current 40-man roster, like, say, Carlos Villanueva or Josh Martin or Alex Dickerson. (Plus, Rhyming Liriano.)
While there’s a decent shot Liriano doesn’t develop into anything more than organizational filler—he’s got major strikeout issues, and most of the projections systems don’t love him—it’s disappointing that a team in the Padres situation, a team that’s maybe, kinda, sorta *shhhh* rebuilding, couldn’t at least hold onto him for another year or two. In the end, it was the Padres strange short-term push—the signings of Villanueva and Alexei Ramirez, and the trade for Jon Jay, for example—that pushed Liriano out, not to mention their Rule 5 draft extravaganza. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a young-ish post-hype outfield prospect around over a 31-year-old relief pitcher with a 4.18 career ERA (Villanueva) or a minor-league reliever (Martin).
In exchange for Liriano, the Padres picked up Trevor Seidenberger, who immediately fills Marc Rzepczynski‘s role as hard-to-spell left-handed pitcher. In fact, Seidenberger has more in common with Rzepahhforgetit than just a long last name:
Of course, one guy did that in the major leagues while the other did it primarily below Double-A ball, but, well, ya know. Still. That’s something, right?