The San Diego Padres starting staff is strength for the team. James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner are more than capable of being absolutely dominant on any given night. Shields is being paid as the teams ace, but in reality Tyson Ross is the Padres best starting pitcher.
Shields had a down year last year, but in all reality he wasn’t as bad as most Padres fans would have you believe. He is a gamer and provides excellent leadership in the dugout and clubhouse. Ross is just starting to come into his own and once he finds some consistency he will be a top 10 pitcher in baseball. His slider is already one of the best pitches in the league.
Andrew Cashner has been a total enigma his whole career. He has had some injury issues in the past and also has struggled mightily with consistency. He can be nearly un-hittable one start only to get shelled the next. His stuff has been consistently good, so its puzzling why he hasn’t had major success yet in the game.
Beyond that trio it is a slight mystery who will fill out the rotation. Young pitcher Colin Rea will have an inside track as will Brandon Morrow who is coming back after yet another injury riddled season. Odrisamer Despaigne and Robbie Erlin could compete for a spot as could newcomer Drew Pomeranz. An outside shot at the rotation is Luis Perdomo the rule five pick from the St. Louis Cardinals. He would need an exceptional spring to lock up a rotation spot though.
A wildcard in the starting staff is Brandon Maurer. Apparently he will be given a shot to earn a rotation spot. Genral manager A.J. Preller indicated that in the spring he will be stretched out and will be assets closely as a potential starting pitcher. The starting staff seem set but A.J. Preller has been tracking the market on his staff so a trade could happen. If a starting pitcher is dealt, the Padres could take a look at the starting pitcher market. There are some intriguing options at the position, if the Padres choose to go that route in finding a new pitcher. The following list is the best available options. Each of the pitchers listed should find work somewhere eventually all though they are all free agents.
The very tall right handed pitcher has an unorthodox wind up and motion. Perhaps his wind up is the culprit of his injury concerns as Fister has struggled to stay healthy his entire career. He has only twice (2011 & 2013) gone over the 200 innings mark in his seven-year career. Last year he missed time with a flexor-tendon strain and only totaled 103 innings pitched with a 4.19 ERA. He is reportedly looking for a two-year deal in the $20 million dollar range, but that seems steep. The Padres might be interested but not at that price.
He is probably the best pitcher left on the market, but still there are some major concerns about his future. Gallardo has made 30 or more starts for seven straight years. He is a very durable pitcher but his velocity has decreased in recent years. With that diminished speed his strikeout numbers have dipped as well. Gallardo used to be considered a strikeout pitcher, but he now pitches to contact. Still he is durable and maintains a career 3.66 ERA including a 3.42 ERA last season with the Texas Rangers. He should sign within the next few days to a week. The Padres will likely not be players.
The former American League Cy Young award winner spent the entire 2015 season on the D.L. with a torn elbow ligament. There are reportedly 10-15 teams interested in him and the Padres surely figure to be one of them. Lee is looking for a one year deal with incentives and that is quite frankly a Padres specialty. The team could be players, but Lee might not like the uncertainty of the Padres and prefer to go to a team with an immediate playoff chance.
He at one time was one of the most dominant young pitchers in the league. The two-time National League Cy Young award winner is still only 31 but has had three less than stellar years consecutively. He has hip surgery in the offseason and is reportedly all set for a workout in February before spring training starts. I would expect the Padres to be on hand in said workout and perhaps the two sides could come to an agreement. If the price is right, the Padres could be players for Lincecum and they could even go multiple years if the deal if team friendly with incentives.