With less than week to go until Opening Day 2016, Andy Green and the San Diego Padres still have quite a few roster decisions left to make. Quite a few roster spots are still up for grabs, with plenty of strong candidates making their case. The next few days should be quite active as the Padres roster is narrowed down further until it makes it’s way to the 25-man Opening Day roster.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) March 28, 2016
No surprises here, but the trio of Rocky Gale, Philip Humber, and Daniel McCutchen all were reassigned to the minors on Monday. All three were long shots to make the team but all three, specifically Humber and McCutchen, could play a role for the Padres at some point in 2016. Prior to the move, minor leaguer Jose Dominguez was also reassigned to the minors. With those moves, the roster is down to 38, with 13 more cuts left to be made in the next week.
Thornton, Morrow are Article XX-B free agents. Padres must decide on their statuses by noon tomorrow. Morrow likely to be put on 25-man.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) March 28, 2016
In other interesting news, the Padres must decide on the fates of both Brandon Morrow and Matt Thornton by noon time today. Morrow will likely be kept on the roster, either making the rotation out of Spring Training or being placed on the disabled list to start the season if he is not ready. Thornton on the other hand seems unlikely to make the team given the bullpen crunch, and the likely presence of one or both of Robbie Erlin and Drew Pomeranz in the bullpen to start the year.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) March 29, 2016
On Monday afternoon, the Padres announced the trade of Erik Kratz to the Houston Astros in return for pitcher Dan Straily. The Astros have made their desire for catching help known, and the Padres happily obliged. Both players were obviously the odd man out with their previous organizations, and now will get a second chance with new teams. The acquisition of Straily is more interesting for the Padres given his lack of options, meaning he seems to be a lock to take one of those final 25 roster spots.
In other trade news, there have been various rumors about the Padres being willing to trade James Shields, with the Boston Red Sox mentioned as a potential fit. On Monday, news broke that the Padres were reportedly “scouting” Pablo Sandoval. Speculation has abounded on a potential Shields-Sandoval swap, but at this point a trade seems highly unlikely.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) March 28, 2016
Beyond that, there has also reportedly been some interest in a few Padre relievers from the Seattle Mariners. Given the loss of a few key pieces this offseason, as well as some injuries, the Mariners seem willing to pursue some bullpen upgrades. With the acquisition of Dan Straily, a trade from the Padres bullpen makes a lot more sense, with Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush, and Jon Edwards being speculated on.
In other trade speculation, there has also been rumors about a Derek Norris trade to either the Houston Astros or Texas Rangers. Nothing is imminent, but on Monday Ken Rosenthal sent out this tweet, further adding to the speculation:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 28, 2016
A larger deal involving Norris and one of Andrew Cashner or Tyson Ross has been speculated, but a trade of this magnitude usually doesn’t come together this close to Spring Training. Either way, speculation will continue to abound until next Monday.
At this point, the group of Jabari Blash, Jose Pirela, Alexi Amarista, Jemile Weeks, Adam Rosales, Brett Wallace, Travis Jankowski, Christian Bethancourt, and Austin Hedges. Out of that group, Blash, Pirela, Weeks, Wallace, and Bethancourt seem like the likeliest picks, with Rosales, Hedges, Jankowski, and Amarista better served in the minor leagues as further depth. The positional versatility of both Pirela and Weeks, as both can play throughout the infield and in the outfield, should serve the Padres well throughout the season.
The first three spots in the rotation are 99% locked barring any last-minute trade, with the trio of Tyson Ross, James Shields, and Andrew Cashner set to lead the rotation once again in 2016. However, the four and five spots are still very much up for grabs, with Brandon Morrow, Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz, and Robbie Erlin as the last group standing. At this point it appears both Rea and Erlin have the inside track, with Pomeranz better suited in the bullpen along with Brandon Maurer, who also was formerly in the hunt. As for Brandon Morrow, if he can prove he is healthy by Opening Day, one of those spots could very well be his. As it currently stands, my money is on Erlin and Rea, who have both impressed so far this spring.
The bullpen is an even more interesting scenario for the Padres, with quite a few spots still up for grabs, and a possible trade still on the horizon. Following the roster moves on Monday, including the trade, there now seems to be at least four or five locks in the bullpen. The likes of Fernando Rodney, Brandon Maurer, and now Dan Straily are all but locks, with Drew Pomeranz another likely fit if he ends up not making the rotation. That leaves three more spots, with Nick Vincent, who is out of options, Kevin Quackenbush, Jon Edwards, Josh Martin, Luis Perdomo, and Carlos Villanueva as the remaining options. Out of those, Quack, Vincent, and Villanueva all seem like logical choices, with Edwards being kept on as minor league depth, and both Martin and Perdomo being sent back to their respective teams following their rule five selections.
Anything can happen over the next few days with Spring Training coming to a close and Opening Day right around the corner. Stay tuned to East Village Times for all your Padres news and notes.