Michael King admits to begging Padres for a start against Yankees

Ex-Yankees pitcher and current Padres starter Michael King at San Diego dugout on May 6, 2024.
Esteban Quiñones
Saturday May 25, 2024

Table of Contents

Michael King, a familiar face to Yankee fans, found himself yearning for a unique opportunity this past weekend. As the San Diego Padres prepared to face the New York Yankees in a three-game series, King was eager to pitch against his former team. The right-hander, who was traded to the Padres in a blockbuster deal involving Juan Soto, revealed his deep desire to take the mound against the Yankees.

Michael King wants to get on the mound against his old mates

As Michael King settled into the Padres’ clubhouse at the start of spring training, he noticed a comforting familiarity. Traded to San Diego in the high-profile deal that sent Juan Soto to the Yankees, King found himself among several former teammates. The Padres roster included ex-Yankees Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez, and Kyle Higashioka, although Thorpe was later traded to the White Sox. The team also featured Wandy Peralta and Tyler Wade, furthering the sense of a “Yankee West.”

“There are a lot of guys that I played with on the Yankees,” Michael King said on Friday, with the Bombers in San Diego for a three-game series. “In spring training, there were a couple people that were calling us Yankee West because we had so many ex-Yankee players. So it was a comforting locker room to come into.”

New York Yankees Michael King
Source: New York Post

Despite the changes, King remains comfortable with the Padres, continuing his role as a starter following a successful transition in the Yankees’ rotation last season. He recorded a 4.28 ERA over 61 innings and has adjusted well to life in San Diego.

“It’s totally different,” King noted. “There’s a different pace of lifestyle, I’d say. But the team’s been great. It’s almost like vacation every time I go home. You got the beach, you got perfect weather. So it’s definitely a different lifestyle, but loving it so far.” However, King does miss aspects of New York, especially the food and the city’s energy. “The food in New York was really, really good,” said King, a native of The Empire State. “I love Italian, and I feel like there’s not as many Italian places out here.”

King had been eagerly anticipating the chance to pitch against his former team, originally scheduled to face the Yankees during this series. However, a recent rain delay forced the Padres to adjust their rotation, leaving King feeling “pretty disappointed.”

“I think it would have been fun,” he said. “I was begging to change the rotation around once we had that rain out, but they’re a very good team. So maybe it wouldn’t have gone so well. It would have been a great challenge, but it would have been fun to see a lot of my friends in the box. It’ll be just as fun to root against them from the dugout.”

Yankees' Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton celebrates after a homer against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium Thursday, May 23, 2024, in New York.

Despite his disappointment, Michael King found a way to contribute. He provided the Padres with scouting reports on his former teammates, leveraging his meticulous note-taking to offer valuable insights. However, he acknowledged the difficulty of facing the first-place Yankees, calling them a “complete team” and highlighting their challenging lineup.

How are other ex-Yankees players doing in 2024?

San Diego’s Petco Park became the backdrop for a reunion of sorts as the Yankees and Padres faced off, 169 days after the blockbuster trade that brought Soto to New York. While Soto’s return to “America’s Finest City” was the marquee event, it also provided a chance for the Yankees to catch up with Michael King, the key figure heading West in the seven-player deal.

Michael King won’t be starting in this series for the Padres, who returned home on Friday in second place, 6.5 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. However, King’s presence was still felt as he interacted with his former teammates and coaches.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone reflected on the trade, noting the difficulty of parting with King after his impressive performance last season, where he posted a 2.23 ERA as a starter.

Michael King has made a significant impact on the Padres’ rotation this season. He has recorded a 4-4 record with a 4.28 ERA in 11 games (10 starts). Despite leading the NL in home runs allowed (12) and walks (28), he has amassed 67 strikeouts in 61 innings. His recent performance has been promising, with a 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in four May starts.

Other former Yankees included in the trade have also made their mark. Jhony Brito, after a rocky start in the Padres’ bullpen, has a 2.14 ERA over his last 12 appearances. Kyle Higashioka, now the backup catcher, has struggled at the plate, batting .140 in 15 games. Randy Vásquez, who briefly joined the Padres’ rotation, was recently optioned back to Triple-A, while Drew Thorpe was traded to the White Sox and has excelled in their Class AA affiliate.

As Michael King continues to navigate his new role with the Padres, his connection to the Yankees remains strong. His desire to face his former team underscores the deep bonds formed during his time in New York. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!