Since Jason Marquis was re-signed to a 1-Year deal earlier this month, the Padres have been pretty quiet on the “Starting Pitcher Acquisition” front. While the Friars have reportedly been in contact with veteran Brett Myers, garnered interest from Daisuke Matsuzaka, and even been linked to guys like Rick Porcello in trade-talks, G.M. Josh Byrnes and the rest of San Diego’s brass have yet to pull the trigger on any sort of trade or Free Agent signing.
But with the new year rapidly approaching and still in need of some depth at the positional area, the Padres have recently found themselves trying to “hedge” the franchise’s 2013 “Starting Staff bets” by going in another direction for help. As Kevin pointed out in a recent post which surrounded Bill Center of the Union-Tribune’s most recent Padres-themed chat, the Friars are reportedly interested in signing veterans Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley to Minor League contracts.
While the signing of either players would not be the most intriguing or exciting of offseason moves, it would definitely benefit the Padres to attempt to explore every avenue for Starting Pitching help. As we found out last season Friars fans, things can go haywire for any Starting Rotation in terms of season-ending injuries destroying the seasons of multiple players. When this happens, players from outside the organization like Jeff Suppan and Ross Ohlendorf sometimes need to be signed off of the veteran Free Agent scrap-heap to cobble together some sort of passable rotation if there is little MLB-ready depth left in the organization.
With Stauffer and Moseley, the Padres at least know what they will be able to get performance-wise out of both Pitchers. While both hurlers come with injury-risks (Stauffer most recently elbow, Moseley most recently shoulder), they have a solid amount of professional experience under their belts’. Plus, if they are needed to come up at mid-season or earlier and healthy, either one player can contribute in a pinch.
Remember readers, Stauffer was thought by many to be the Padres’ de-facto #1 starter entering last year, and was coming off of decent performances during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Overall, Stauffer went 15-17 over those two years and pitched in 63 Games, Started 38 (including a career-high 31 in 2011), threw 268.1 Innings (185.2 in 2011), and struck out 189 batters. Moseley on the other hand did not have the best of records during the 2011 season (3-10), but still put up a respectable 3.30 ERA over 20 Starts and 120.0 Innings for the Friars before he went down with a left-shoulder dislocation. Unfortunately for both Pitchers, their injuries limited them to one start apiece last year as they were the first of many Padres players to be bitten by the “injury bug.”
In my opinion, whichever proves he can not only be the most effective, but stay the most healthy through Spring Training and a Minor League stint should be signed and at least given a chance compete. Of the two I would most like to see Stauffer signed back as he might be able to fill the same sort of role he did back in 2010 when he worked out of both the Bullpen and the Starting Rotation (7 Starts, 32 Relief Outings). But if Moseley is indeed the better option (and healthy), I see no reason why he does not deserve a Spring Training tryout and a Minor League shot.
My issue with the Friars’ Starting Rotation has more to do with depth than it has to do with talent. In another rebuilding year, I would be fine if San Diego trotted out a rotation of: Richard, Volquez, Marquis, Stults, Ross/Bass/Kelly, and had Luebke and Wieland waiting to make significant contributions in 2014. My main worry would be if something happened to multiple members of the projected Starting Staff, and that is where a veteran stop-gap like a Stauffer or a Moseley could emerge as a viable option to turn to in a time of need.
The way the Free Agent/Trade Winds have blown to this point, it might be in Byrnes’ best interest to sign one of these guys as an insurance policy. I would not mind seeing either one of these guys signed to a Minor League deal, especially with the Padres’ offseason efforts to bolster their Starting Rotation have gone. If nothing works out with either Pitcher, then hey, the move did not set the franchise back in the least bit. I would rather see them under-pay for a Moseley or a Stauffer as opposed to over-pay for a 1-year stop-gap like a Joe Saunders, Matsuzaka, or a Myers.
But that is just me.
Readers: Should the Padres attempt to sign either Stauffer or Moseley? Or should they continue to test the Free Agent/Trade waters?
Stats & Contract Information Courtesy of: Baseball Reference