The Padres have acquired first baseman/outfielder Matt Beaty from the Dodgers in exchange for minor league right-hander/infielder River Ryan, per a team announcement. The Padres announced Ryan, a two-way player in college, as a pitcher in their press release. The Dodgers initially announced him as an infielder, but Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets that they still plan to give Ryan opportunities on the mound.
To open space on the 40-man roster, San Diego placed left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who underwent forearm surgery last August, on the 60-day injured list. Beaty was designated for assignment by Los Angeles last week.
Beaty, 28, was a somewhat surprising DFA by the Dodgers, as he was fresh off a .270/.363/.402 showing in 234 plate appearances last season. While Beaty didn’t show substantial power (seven homers, four doubles, one triple, .132 ISO), he walked at a league-average clip, was plunked 10 times (thus driving up his OBP a bit) and made contact at an above-average rate. Beaty fanned in 18.8% of his plate appearances last year and has a career mark of 16.4% — well south of last year’s 22.6% league average (excluding pitchers).
The Padres have been on the hunt for outfield upgrades for much of the offseason but have also reportedly been hamstrung a bit by payroll concerns — a driving factor behind their reported efforts to trade Eric Hosmer and/or Wil Myers. It’s been a generally quiet winter for the Friars, who’ve added a bit to their bullpen (Robert Suarez, Luis Garcia) and signed Nick Martinez to a four-year deal that is laden with opt-out opportunities. Offensively, the lone addition of note thus far has been Luke Voit, whom the Padres acquired from the Yankees last week.
Beaty will give San Diego an option in left field, where utility man Jurickson Profar had been among the leading candidates for playing time. Beaty can also spell Hosmer at first base or mix in at designated hitter if Voit is unavailable. In addition to his work at first and in the outfield corners, he’s spent a bit of time at third base, but defensive metrics aren’t especially bullish on him at any of the positions he’s played thus far in a small sample of innings. He also has a minor-league option remaining, so the Padres don’t necessarily need to commit to keeping him on the big-league roster all season.
Ryan, 23, was an 11th-round pick out UNC Pembroke just last season. Though he pitched to a 2.32 ERA with a 29.7% strikeout rate and a 7.8% walk rate in 93 innings of bullpen work during his NCAA career, the Friars didn’t actually put him on the mound during last year’s pro debut. He spent a dozen games with the Padres’ Rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona Complex League and batted .308/.349/.436 with a homer, two doubles and four stolen bases in 43 plate appearances.