The San Diego Padres have acquired closer Huston Street from the Colorado Rockies for a PTBNL and cash considerations.

It’s hard to truly evaluate this deal until the player heading to Colorado is identified. The cash, apparently, is $.5 million in 2012 and the $.5 million buyout in 2013 if the option is declined.

Anyway, I had read a lot about how the Padres were looking to acquire a proven closer, and I was thinking about drafting an article on why they shouldn’t. If you know how I feel about how the Padres should approach this offseason, you probably know why. The Padres are unlikely to be a true contender next year, so whether they have a “proven” closer or Luke Gregerson/Ernesto Frieri isn’t all that significant.

It wouldn’t be wise to invest too much, in dollars or prospects, on a relief pitcher. However, if we assume the Padres lost a relatively insignificant player, this deal isn’t all that bad. The Padres will owe Street $7 million in 2012, not a bad price for a solid closer. Further, they don’t have to commit any length or dollars to Street if things don’t work out.

Street’s a very good reliever who will benefit greatly – like any pitcher would – from switching to Petco Park from Coors. Seriously, that’s one end of the spectrum to the other. Street’s stats:

Street Innings ERA HR/9 BB/9 K/9
OAK (05-08) 269 2.88 .6 2.6 9.1
COL (09-11) 167.3 3.50 1.2 1.8 9.1

Street was better with Oakland (he also threw more innings/year), but he’s remained effective with the Rockies. In fact, his strikeout-to-walk ratio has actually improved with Colorado. He’s struggled more with the long ball, which has hurt his value, but that should be remedied by a move to Petco.

Street makes the Padres better in 2012, but even if they’re not competitive (very likely), they can use him as a trade chip at the deadline. Closers can attract a lot of attention from contenders with bullpen problems mid-season, and if Street can prove he’s still an asset in the back-end of the pen, he’ll have a number of suitors.

This isn’t a great deal, and it doesn’t really fit into a long-term plan to rebuild. But it also doesn’t sacrifice prospects (hopefully) or a big dollar commitment to improve in the short-term. And it’s hard to blame the Padres for at least attempting to improve the major league club for next season.

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