PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres brought some clarity to their muddled bullpen picture on Monday when they traded left-handed reliever Alex Torres to the Mets for right-handed pitcher Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later.
Torres, acquired by former general manager Josh Byrnes in January 2014, had command issues a year ago, walking 33 in 54 innings, and he never became the true left-on-left option the Padres sought.
Mazzoni was a combined 7-2 with a 4.68 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 77 innings a year ago across four Minor League levels. He missed time coming out of Spring Training with a lat injury, but Padres assistant general manager Josh Stein said the reports on him at the end of the season were very good.
"It's four pitches, we have three of them graded as above-average pitches, a pretty big fastball, a good slider and a changeup that's probably above average as well," Stein said. "[It's an] ability to get left-handers and right-handers out, someone we think has a starter's repertoire."
Stein said the Padres liked Mazzoni in their Draft process prior to him being selected by the Mets in the second round in 2011 out of North Carolina State. He added that he hoped Mazzoni would get a chance to pitch in big league games before the team finishes in Arizona after Thursday's game, and that the 25-year-old is likely ticketed for Triple-A El Paso, where he will start.
Mazzoni was added to the Mets' 40-man roster this offseason. He appeared in three games this spring, allowing two earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
The Torres trade likely paves the way for lefty Frank Garces to make the 25-man roster. Garces has been good this spring, striking out nine with two earned runs allowed in nine innings. He hasn't allowed a hit to any of the 13 left-handed batters he's faced, and he has six strikeouts.
Stein said there are still some decisions to be made regarding the seven-man bullpen before the team sets its 25-man roster in advance of Opening Day on April 6 against the Dodgers.
"We have a lot of talented relievers; ultimately there's probably going to be some tough decisions that need to be made," Stein said. "Probably a little more clarity [now] … but even with this trade, there's going to be some difficult decisions the rest of camp."
Torres, set to make $522,900 this season, was out of Minor League options. He's not arbitration-eligible until 2017. The Mets needed a lefty for the bullpen to replace Josh Edgin, who had Tommy John surgery two weeks ago.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.