Chris Paddack reminds Marlins fans of what they gave away

Chris Paddack broke into the scene this season and instantly became the San Diego Padres’ best starting pitcher. On a team that has a young, exciting, growing core, that added star infielder Manny Machado, Paddack steals the show whenever he starts.

Simply put, there’s a new sheriff in town.

The Austin, Tex. native walks into the ballpark dressed in cowboy regalia with a mullet and an attitude that suggests he’s the one behind the song, “Old Town Road”. He’s his own remix, and his outing against the Marlins proves it.

In his first start at Miami, Paddack took a no-hitter to the eighth inning until it was broken up by a Starlin Castro home run. He gave up one walk and struck out eight batters.

“After we saw a lot of fastballs, we were ready,” Castro said. “He threw me a first-pitch changeup, and then threw me a fastball, middle-in, and I drove it pretty good.”

Before the home run, the no-hit bid almost ended by a centimeter when first baseman Eric Hosmer tagged out a sliding Miguel Rojas to end the sixth inning.

“After the sixth inning, I was starting to count the outs,” Paddack said. “One mistake, against a good hitter.”

Prior to coming oh so close from San Diego’s first ever no-hitter, Paddack entered the game leading all qualified rookies in WHIP (0.92) and second in strikeouts (87) and opponent batting average (.194).

“He’s the easiest guy in the world to catch,” said catcher Austin Hedges. “You put your glove there, and he throws it. … He’s shown no-hit, perfect-game stuff.”

Paddack’s performance was frustrating for Marlins fans to watch because had it not been for a short-sighted trade in 2016, he would be doing this for the Marlins. Miami drafted him in the eighth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, same class as Josh Naylor, who was also traded to San Diego. He was a low-A pitcher in 2016 when the Marlins traded him for veteran closer Fernando Rodney, who at the time was an All-Star with a 0.32 ERA in 28 appearances.

Rodney posted a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances and the Marlins missed their one chance at the playoffs and now that Paddack has emerged as a Rookie of the Year frontrunner, fans are feeling the remorse from the trade.

This game felt like revenge for the trade. Paddack hinted as much by telling reporters before the game that, “there will definitely be a little more adrenaline just with the mindset that this is the team that drafted me and then got rid of me.” He recalled being in a befuddled state when a member of the Marlins’ front office informed him he’d been traded while in Greensboro.

“It happened so quick,” Paddack said. “But it was the longest day of my life, too.”

The ownership group that made the trade three years ago is no longer in the building but are still reminded of their failures to recognize the potential of prospects with every quality start by Paddack and Luis Castillo, who was traded to San Diego, returned after three innings and an injury of Colin Rea, and then later traded to Cincinnati for Dan Straily, who was released before the start of the season.

It’s sometime hard not to envision a world where the Marlins didn’t make a single trade since 2016. No Rodney, no Straily, no Andrew Cashner. The 2017 lineup (Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon) stays. Josh Naylor emerges possibly to replace Justin Bour, Rojas reaches this same point at shortstop, and Paddack and Castillo anchors the starting rotation of a potential playoff team.

“If you really break down what the Marlins had and where everyone’s at now, it’d be a super-team, man,” Paddack said. “It’s crazy to think. But that’s this game, man. Baseball changes.”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *