The Padres and Mariners are “in active talks” about a trade that would send Austin Nola to San Diego, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). “A highly regarded prospect” would be going back to the M’s in the deal, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan.
After already picking up Jason Castro from the Angels in another trade earlier today, the Padres would be looking to further bolster themselves behind the plate with Nola, though Nola brings extra versatility to the table. While Nola has primarily worked as a catcher this season, he has a lot of experience at first base and second base, plus a handful of games as a third baseman and corner outfield.
Since Nola might be considered more of a super-utility piece than as a pure catcher, the Padres could conceivably use him all around the diamond while still going with Castro and Austin Hedges as their primary catching tandem. Or, as Rosenthal speculates, one of Hedges or Francisco Mejia could be traded elsewhere, either to Seattle in this potential deal or maybe as part of yet another swap for the busy Padres. Besides Castro, San Diego has also added Mitch Moreland and Trevor Rosenthal in deals with the Red Sox and Royals, respectively, and the Padres remain in the hunt for such big-name pitchers as Mike Clevinger and Lance Lynn.
Originally a fifth-round pick for the Marlins in the 2012 draft, Nola plugged away in the minors before finally making his MLB debut last season at age 29. Since reaching the bigs, Nola has done nothing but produce for the Mariners, hitting .280/.351/.476 with 15 homers over 377 career plate appearances heading into today’s action. He is also controlled through the 2025 season, though San Diego might not necessarily view Nola as a long-term asset given that he turns 31 in December.