2020 San Diego Padres
2020 San Diego Padres / Franchise: San Diego Padres / BR Team Page
Clinched Wild Card: September 20, 2020, vs. Seattle Mariners
Managed by Jayce Tingler
History, Comments, Contributions
On August 17-19, the 2020 San Diego Padres hit a grand slam in three consecutive games, all wins over the Texas Rangers. They were the first National League team to do so since the 1895 Cleveland Spiders; it had been done a few times in the American League in the interim, most recently by the 2006 Chicago White Sox. Fernando Tatis Jr., the hottest hitter in baseball at the time, did the honors in the first game, but not without some controversy as he went deep on a 3-0 pitch with the Padres holding a large lead in the 8th inning; both managers, including new Padres skipper Jayce Tingler, criticized him for swinging away in such a situation, breaking one the so-called unwritten rules of baseball, but the reaction from the media was overwhelmingly in his favor, saying the managers' attitude was badly outdated. In the second game, it was Wil Myers who hit a slam, and in the third Manny Machado ended the game in the 10th inning, reversing a 3-2 deficit. On August 20th, they claimed the record outright when Eric Hosmer hit a slam in another walk-off win over the Rangers, this one by a score of 8-7, on a single by rookie Jake Cronenworth and an error by CF Scott Heineman in the 10th inning. After a one-day respite, they were at it again on August 22nd when Cronenworth hit a grand slam, while Trent Grisham had a three-homer game as they routed the Houston Astros, 13-2.
The Padres were very active at the trading deadline, as they had a clear chance of ending a 14-season postseason drought. On August 29th, they acquired reborn reliever Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals for young OF Edward Olivares, who had been on the opening day roster before being sent back to the alternative training site. The next day, they completely revamped their catching - where Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia had completely failed to hit - by acquiring Jason Castro from the Los Angeles Angels for P Gerardo Reyes and pulling off a seven-player trade with the Seattle Mariners that landed C Austin Nola as well as Ps Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla. They had to give up four young players: IF Ty France, P Andres Munoz, C Luis Torrens and OF Taylor Trammell. France and Torrens had done all right in limited opportunities with the big league team, Munoz had pitched well in 2019 but was out for the season following Tommy John surgery, and Trammell had yet to make his debut but was considered the top prospect of the lot. Finally, they traded two players who would normally have been in AA or AAA, Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario, to obtain 1B Mitch Moreland, who was slotted to DH against right-handed pitchers. The team's record was 21-15 at the time, and they were in a strong second place in the NL West behind the runaway Los Angeles Dodgers. But the Padres weren't done, as they left their biggest deal for deadline day itself, as on August 31st, they acquired P Mike Clevinger from the Cleveland Indians as part of a nine-player blockbuster deal. Clevinger had become available because he had violated the COVID-19 protocols at the start of the month, earning the wrath of his teammates, and Cleveland had continued to play well in his absence. Thus, the Padres were able to acquire an ace pitcher just starting his prime years, although the price was steep: two very promising young players in OF/1B Josh Naylor and P Cal Quantrill, three of their top 12 prospects in SS Gabriel Arias, IF Owen Miller and P Joey Cantillo, and the now supernumerary Hedges. They also obtained OF Greg Allen and a player to be named later in the deal. Then, in a final hiccup after that deal fest, the Pads got one more player from the Mariners, P Taylor Williams, in exchange for another player to be named.
It may not have been simply because of all the moves, but the Padres did clinch a postseason slot, doing so on September 20th with a 7-4 win over the Mariners. It was their first postseason appearance in 14 years, and did not simply back into a slot, as they had the second best record in the National League at that time, only trailing the Dodgers.
Awards and Honors
- NL Gold Glove: Trent Grisham (CF)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Manny Machado (3B) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS)
- 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Jake Cronenworth (2B)
- AJ Cassavell: "Does this team have the best bullpen in NL?", mlb.com, January 20, 2020. 
- AJ Cassavell: "Padres, Mariners complete 7-player deal", mlb.com, August 31, 2020. 
- AJ Cassavell: "Clevinger deal caps Padres' astounding haul", mlb.com, August 31, 2020. 
- AJ Cassavell: "Padres clinch first playoff berth in 14 years", mlb.com, September 20, 2020. 
- Mike Petriello: "9 reasons Padres are MLB's must-watch team", mlb.com, August 12, 2020. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Padres' new home? Slam Diego, California", mlb.com, August 20, 2020. 
- Elizabeth Swinton: "San Diego Padres Clinch First Postseason Berth Since 2006", Sports Illustrated, September 20, 2020