Joe Thatcher had an idea he might be traded. The Kokomo native had seen his name linked in trade rumors in stories over the last few days, even though he’d heard nothing from his club, the San Diego Padres.
The idea got more plausible Tuesday night when he sat in the Padres’ bullpen during the teams’ game against Cincinnati.
“Yesterday I kind of got a feeling something was gonna happen,” Thatcher said Wednesday, a few hours after San Diego traded the Kokomo High School product to NL West rival Arizona. “There was a situation I would usually be in the game and I didn’t get the call to warm up. You have to have faith that some things happen for a reason.
“We were all kind of joking down in the bullpen, everybody saying they were going to miss me, that I was going to be traded. I half expected to come in after the game and get the news. Obviously, I got the call [Wednesday] morning.”
Thatcher was packaged with a minor leaguer and a draft choice and sent to Arizona for starting pitcher Ian Kennedy. Kennedy had 21 wins two seasons ago though has struggled this year, with an ERA of 5.23.
Thatcher joins a contender in Arizona. The Diamondbacks are in second place in the NL West, 31/2 games behind the division-leading Dodgers. San Diego is just now righting itself after a mid-season tailspin saw the Padres lose 16 of 18 games to go from a couple games off the lead in the division to well off the pace. San Diego is 81/2 games back now.
“I knew the state the Padres were in, I knew it was a good possibility I’d get traded,” Thatcher said. “The last couple days have been kind of uneasy knowing it could happen. I understand it. It’s a part of the game. It’s exciting to know teams want me as part of their bullpen.”