As spring training keeps moving forward, the San Diego Padres are getting closer and closer to opening day. On Monday, the Padres roster got closer to being a finished product as well.
Although the more discussed news on Monday was the Padres signing of yet another teenager from Latin America, this time 18-year-old, left-handed pitcher, Osvaldo Hernandez, out of Cuba, the Padres also made some other roster moves.
In the second set of roster cuts this spring, the Padres trimmed the roster by 10, officially reassigning six players to minor league camp and optioning the other four. Semantically, the terms mean the same thing, although the word optioned is used for players who are already on the 40-man roster.
Based on that fact, Nick Buss, Jason Jester, Jon Edwards, Kyle McGrath, Jose Pirela, and Brad Wieck were all reassigned to minor league camp while Javier Guerra, Keith Hessler, Jose Rondon, and Jose Ruiz were all optioned.
None of these moves really come as a surprise. Although a few of those players looked impressive this spring, none were going to find a roster spot right out of spring training. However, there are quite a few that could see big league playing time in 2017. At the top of that list is the quintet of bullpen arms, Jester, Edwards, McGrath, and Wieck. Based on how the Padres bullpen fairs in the early season, Jester, McGrath, and Wieck could all be ready before the season is over.
The rest of these players likely won’t see that much big league time in 2017, although Jose Pirela and Jose Rondon could be names to watch for should the Padres have any substantial injuries in the infield. With these moves, the Padres’ roster is now down to 54, meaning the team is not yet halfway to filling out their opening day roster.
Other News and Notes:
-As mentioned above, the Padres signed yet another international player to a contract, this time left-handed pitcher, Osvaldo Hernandez, out of Cuba, who signed for $2.5 million, which will cost the Padres $5 million because of the penalty for exceeding their international bonus pool. Given the Padres exceeding their bonus pool, they have spent upwards of $75-80 million on international talent when including all the penalties, which effectively doubles the amount the Padres spent on talent acquisitions.
-According to several reports, Padres outfielder, Alex Dickerson, suffered a setback with his back pain and could be in jeopardy of missing opening day. If Dickerson is unable to get back healthy before Opening Day, that very likely could open up a roster spot for outfielder Jabari Blash, who has already mashed five home runs this spring.
–Christian Bethancourt saw his first action behind the plate on Sunday, as the team has allowed him to focus on his pitching to this point. So far, that pitching has been successful, as Bethancourt has yet to give up a hit or run in his three innings of work, striking out one and walking two. Bethancourt has yet to get a hit at the plate in six at bats, but his progress on the mound is definitely a positive development for the team.
-In the Padres most notable position player battles of the spring, Erick Aybar and Luis Sardinas, and Cory Spangenberg and Ryan Schimpf, are all vying for playing time at shortstop and second/third base respectively. Neither Sardinas or Aybar have been all that impressive, batting .190 and .261 respectively, but someone is going to have to earn the job before the conclusion of the spring. As for Spangenberg and Schimpf, it’s a similar story, as Spangenberg is hitting only .217 while Schimpf is at .182 in limited plate appearances to this point.