San Diego Padres Land Joe Musgrove, Continue Building an Elite Rotation

Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates v Cleveland Indians
Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates v Cleveland Indians / Jason Miller/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres did it again on Monday. The Friars landed another excellent starting pitcher, as they traded lefty Joey Lucchesi and four prospects to add Joe Musgrove to the rotation. In the last few months, they've completely blown up their pitching staff and have built an elite rotation in the process.

Lucchesi will wind up going to the Mets, while the Pittsburgh Pirates will receive five prospects in the deal, four coming from the Padres and one from New York.

San Diego general manager A.J. Preller continued to deal from the incredible depth of his prospect pool in landing Musgrove. On the same day Baseball America put an MLB-best seven Padres prospects in its top 100, Preller demonstrated just how good his farm system is by not including any of those top 100 guys in a deal to get a pitcher of Musgrove's quality.

The 28-year-old righty is a local kid who grew up in El Cajon, just 20 minutes from Petco Park. He has nasty stuff, and after a few mechanical tweaks in 2019 he set career highs. He took a slight step back in the shortened 2020 season overall, but looked excellent in his final five starts. His underlying numbers are also all look really good.

His sinker/slider combo can be downright nasty:

At the trade deadline in August, the Padres landed Mike Clevinger in a deal with the Cleveland Indians. While Clevinger will miss all of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery, he is under contract for 2022. So far this winter, Preller has also worked trades to land former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays, and NL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs.

As of now the 2021 Padres will boast a rotation led by Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Musgrove and Chris Paddack, with Adrian Morejon and top prospects MacKenzie Gore and Ryan Weathers also in the mix. That's an elite group capable of guiding the Padres to a World Series. Oh, and all of those guys are under contract through at least 2022, so that same group will add Clevinger to the mix next season.

On paper, Preller has built a formidable rotation, and he's done it without completely decimating his farm system. That's an impressive feat few in baseball thought possible or likely. All of the moves he's made have been aimed at taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who remain stacked.

The Padres have now filled their biggest need by loading up their pitching rotation. Preller has put them in an excellent position to compete. Now all that's left to do is play the games.