It looked like the 25-man roster was finalized a few days ago, but the Padres made a surprise move yesterday, calling up lefty Cesar Ramos, who had been optioned to Triple-A two weeks ago, and sending down righty Adam Russell.
The Padres’ main lefty, Joe Thatcher, will be opening the year on the disabled list, so the team wanted a lefty in the bullpen.
With Wade LeBlanc best served as Triple-A rotation insurance, and Aaron Poreda causing so much worry he’s going to start back in Double-A, the Padres seemed to want to bank on a safer bet in the decent but expendable Ramos, who probably won’t be a game-changer no matter what role he’s in.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Russell is the far superior pitcher, but this is the NL we’re talking about, so it is important to have some bullpen balance. I think that Tim Stauffer is worse than Russell, but he’s out of options and Russell isn’t, so the move makes sense on that level. Stauffer and Ramos both need to watch their backs, though, with Thatcher likely to have a fairly short DL stay and Russell waiting for the first guy to get hurt or struggle.
With a very good slider-curve combo and decent velocity, Ramos could take well to a LOOGY role. He certainly should do well enough for 15 days that the Padres aren’t much worse off for it.