The first thing I did when I decided to come aboard FanSided as a Padres writer was look at who the hell this team had.
As I mentioned in my intro, I know plenty about each player individually, but I wasn’t sure of everybody’s roster status. So I immediately took a look at the 40-man roster.
The first thing about it that struck me was that there is a much higher number of pitchers than position players.
I know it’s the NL, and bullpens are pretty hyper-specialized, but carrying 23 or 24 pitchers on the 40-man? That seems like a bit of a waste of resources at first glance.
What’s really interesting is that most of the pitchers are also in the same age range, with 17 different pitchers born between 1982 and 1986. An 18th, Mat Latos, was born in 1987.
We can separate the 40-man pitchers into two categories:
1.) Minor leaguers who were recently added to protect them from being Rule 5’ed and who have little or no shot at breaking camp in 2010.
2.) Players with a legitimate shot at breaking camp in April.
The players who fit in the former are Craig Italiano, Steve Garrison, Ernesto Frieri, and perhaps Cesar Carrillo.
That still leaves a laundry list of pitchers competing for Padres pitching spots to open 2010.
Then again, there aren’t many “sure things” in the bunch. There’s Jon Garland and Chris Young in the rotation and Mike Adams, Heath Bell, Joe Thatcher, and Luke Gregerson in the bullpen.
That leaves three rotation slots and three or four bullpen slots to be filled by the other 14 or so pitchers on the 40-man roster.
I understand that the Padres front office wants to instill competitive drive in their pitchers, and that’s fine for now, especially since San Diego didn’t lose anyone (save organizational arm Rolando Valdez in the Triple-A phase) of the Rule 5 Draft.
However, the Padres should definitely look to trade some of their excess relief pitching as the spring wears on. Otherwise, they’ll probably have to DFA several players if some of the position players have injury issues during the year.
Given that San Diego is the most pitcher-friendly environment in baseball, there’s even more of an incentive to carry more extra batters than pitchers. Almost anyone from the minors could come up and do a decent job in San Diego as a trash-time reliever, as Luis Perdomo demonstrated last year.
Definitely keep an eye on the makeup of the 40-man as the year progresses.