The San Diego Padres acquired pitchers Michael King and Drew Thorpe in a blockbuster deal that sent Juan Soto to the New York Yankees late on Wednesday night, and AJ Preller talked about what is planned for the two pitchers.
Michael King was reportedly evaluated very favorably by Padres scouts multiple times this season after he joined the Yankees rotation late in the year, and AJ Preller said he envisions King as a starting pitcher going into 2024 and beyond, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. King started in just nine games for the Yankees down the stretch last season as they were out of the playoff race, and he succeeded succeeded in that role.
King was the headliner when it came to players with major league experience, but acquiring prospect Drew Thorpe was a big get for the Padres as well, and Preller believes he could arrive in San Diego's rotation as early as the 2024 season, according to Morosi.
Thorpe emerged on the scene as a prospect in 2023, winning the Prospect Pitcher of the Year award. He pitched in high-A with the Hudson Valley Renegades, and reached double-A with the Somerset Patriots in the Yankees' system. He had a 2.52 ERA overall at both levels, according to MLB.com.
The Padres also acquired pitchers Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez along with catcher Kyle Higashioka in the trade, while they sent center fielder Trent Grisham to New York with Juan Soto. Brito and Vasquez could help immediately in the bullpen, and make starts as back end of the rotation pieces next season if needed.
It was known that the Padres needed pitching help, and that they would likely deal Soto to acquire some of that. Preller said he is hoping to acquire at least one reliever who can pitch in the 8th or 9th inning, and the Soto trade affords him the financial flexibility to do so, according to Morosi. However, the Soto trade gives San Diego a lot more to work with in the pitching department.