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Padres acquire Luis Sardinas from Mariners

August 15, 2016 GMT

The Padres on Monday acquired Luis Sardinas from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for cash or a player to be named later and optioned the infielder to Triple-A El Paso. Right-hander Erik Johnson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list in order to create room on the 40-man roster.

Sardinas was designated for assignment last week. In 32 games with Seattle this season, he hit just .181 with a .203 on-base percentage and two home runs. His numbers with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate also were lacking; in 44 games with Tacoma, he hit . 252 with a .295 OBP.

The 23-year-old, however, is a solid defender capable of playing three infield positions and could factor into the Padres’ shortstop picture in 2017. San Diego’s Alexei Ramirez is on a one-year deal with a mutual option that is unlikely to be exercised, and a source Monday said the club has considered releasing the veteran to open up playing time for others.

The Padres recently brought up shortstop prospect Jose Rondon for eight games before optioning him to El Paso last week. Francis Parker product Nick Noonan, in turn, was promoted from the affiliate. Ramirez has started only three of the Padres’ last 14 games.

Sardinas, who also has experience at second and third, could join those two as shortstop options for next season. Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has a history with the Venezuelan; as the Texas Rangers’ international scouting director, Preller signed Sardinas for $1.5 million in 2009.

After joining the Padres, Preller considered trading for Sardinas each of the last two offseasons. He signed Ramirez in January for $4 million, but the one-time All-Star has continued declining at age 34, hitting just .238 with four home runs and six steals.

Sardinas was a top-100 prospect as recently as 2014, but given his lack of offensive punch, most scouts consider him a utility player. Over parts of three seasons with Texas, Milwaukee and Seattle, he is a career .218 hitter with a .257 OBP.

He could, of course, help the rebuilding Padres at shortstop next season and possibly beyond. Javier Guerra, the organization’s top prospect at the position, has struggled this year at High Single-A Lake Elsinore. The 20-year-old is hitting .202 with nine home runs and, despite being a gifted defender, has committed 30 errors.

Sardinas won’t become eligible for salary arbitration until 2019.

Johnson, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox as part of the James Shields trade, is likely out for the season with a right elbow sprain. In four starts for the Padres, he went 0-4 with a 9.15 ERA.

Padres pitching prospect Dinelson Lamet was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 8-14. In two starts, the Double-A San Antonio right-hander went 2-0 while throwing 12 shutout innings. He struck out 16 batters and walked just one.

In 13 starts for San Antonio, Lamet is 5-6 with a 3.52 ERA. Since his June 10 debut, he is leading the Texas League with 84 strikeouts (against 30 walks).

The 24-year-old began his 2016 season with High Single-A Lake Elsinore. He earned a promotion after going 7-1 with a 2.35 ERA.

Lamet signed with the Padres as a non-drafted free agent in July 2014. He is the first Missions hurler to earn a Pitcher of the Week award this season.

Scouts are split on whether Lamet is more effective as a starter or a reliever, but the Dominican certainly has raised his stock. He could debut in the majors in late 2017.