General Manager Randy Smith had already traded away Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff. The next phase of the Padres’ fire sale landed on this date — July 26 — in 1993 when veteran pitchers Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris were sent to the Colorado Rockies.
The return fetched arguably the best young defensive catcher in the game in Brad Ausmus, reliever Doug Bochtler and a player to be named later who wound up more valuable to the Padres than anyone else received in the swap:
The 26-year-old right-hander debuted with the Padres days later with six runs allowed in six innings.
He wound up staying eight years, going 70-62 with a 3.59 ERA over 187 appearances. Ashby, once an undrafted free agent, turned in his best year en route to helping the Padres to the World Series in 1998, going 17-9 with a 3.34 ERA.
Ashby’s 22.6 career WAR, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, ranks fifth all-time in Padres history behind Tony Gwynn (69.2), Dave Winfield (32.0), Jake Peavy (26.8) and Trevor Hoffman (25.8).
Hoffman arrived in the Sheffield trade roughly a month before Hurst and Harris were shipped off to make sure the Padres received some form of compensation before they walked as…