The Padres announced their list of non-roster Spring Training invitees this evening. Among the acquisitions not previously covered at MLBTR: reliever Matt Festa and utility player Tyler Wade. San Diego also brought back catcher Chandler Seagle on a new minor league pact after he’d elected free agency.
According to Wade’s transaction log at MLB.com, he inked his deal back in November. The transaction eluded MLBTR at the time. The Marietta native sticks in California after spending the prior two seasons with the Angels and A’s. Wade tallied a career-high 163 plate appearances with the Halos two years ago but only got into 26 contests for Oakland.
Previously a utility player with the Yankees, Wade has appeared in seven MLB seasons. The speedy left-handed hitter owns a .217/.293/.300 batting line in just over 700 plate appearances. He’s coming off a solid .291/.384/.409 showing through 91 games with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate. Wade stole 42 bases in 51 attempts in the minors a year ago. He’s a versatile depth option who can cover either middle infield position or play anywhere in the outfield.
Festa signed with San Diego today, according to the transaction tracker. The 30-year-old righty (31 next month) had lingered in free agency since he was released by the Mariners last August. Festa was on the minor league injured list with an undisclosed malady at the time, explaining why he didn’t catch on with another team for the stretch run.
Injuries have been an issue for Festa, who lost a good portion of the 2020-21 seasons to Tommy John surgery. The former seventh-round draftee returned to the mound in Triple-A at the tail end of the ’21 campaign. He made Seattle’s roster the following year and logged a personal-high 54 innings. Festa worked to a 4.17 ERA behind a very strong 29.2% strikeout percentage, although he allowed an alarming 1.67 homers per nine innings.
Seattle only gave Festa eight MLB appearances last season. Before going on the IL, he’d pitched 28 times for the M’s top affiliate in Tacoma. His ERA there could hardly have been better. He allowed only two earned runs in 34 frames (0.53 per nine) for the Rainiers. Despite the nearly immaculate run prevention, his strikeout and walk profile was middling. Festa only fanned 21.9% of opponents while issuing free passes at an alarming 12.5% clip. An unsustainably low .114 batting average on balls in play against him was a big reason for the ERA being as impressive as it was.
Seagle, a 27-year-old depth catcher, has spent his entire career in the San Diego system. A 30th round pick in 2017, he’s a .204/.277/.287 hitter in more than 1000 minor league plate appearances. While he clearly isn’t going to provide much at the plate, the Padres seem happy enough with his defensive ability to keep him in the minors. San Diego called Seagle up for the final weekend of 2023 after losing Luis Campusano to injury. He got into a game and received one at-bat. The Padres placed him on waivers at the start of the offseason but brought him back last week in a non-roster capacity.