By Joel Alderman
The possibility of former baseball teammates from Fitch High School in Groton becoming mound opponents in a National League game this coming season took a hit as Jesse Hahn became part of a multi-player deal between the San Diego Padres and the Oakland A’s.
Hahn, who had a spectacular rookie season with the Padres in 2014, was on the same team at Fitch with Matt Harvey, who is slated to return to the rotation of the New York Mets, after being out more than a year due to Tommy John surgery.
Connecticut fans were looking forward to the real chance that they could have opposed each other in one of the meetings in 2015 between the Mets and Padres.
The Padres have been very active this month on the trading market, but dealing Hahn comes as a surprise and to some, a disappointment. One fan in San Diego tweeted to a San Diego paper, “Hate losing Hahn.”
In addition to including Hahn in the deal, the Padres’ General Manager, A.J. Preller, also sent another promising right-hander, R.J. Alvarez, to the A’s in exchange for catcher Derek Norris, pitcher Seth Streich, and an international signing slot.
Norris, 25, was an All-Star in 2014, and he hit .270, second among catchers in the American League. The Padres had to give up a lot to land him.
The 25-year old Hahn, who also had Tommy John surgery, was one of the biggest surprises of a dismal season in San Diego. He had been acquired from Tampa Bay, then went on to compile a 7-4 record with the Padres, with a 3.07 ERA, and 70 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings.
Last August Bud Black, the Padres’ manager, said that Hahn had done “great work for a rookie pitcher (who), coming into spring training, wasn’t as high on the radar as other players. . . It’s a tribute to Jesse that he’s broken through when given the opportunity, grabbed it by the neck and has run with it.”
Hahn must be wondering what more he could have done to stay with San Diego. But that’s baseball. Now he will be in the American League with what figures to be a better club.
His friends and relatives in the Groton-New London area will be able to see him pitch in Boston, which is closer for them than going to New York. The only drawback will be that there won’t be a chance for them to see him and Matt Harvey in the same game.