Hooray! The Padres made some moves to sign more Starting Pitchers this offseason! But before all of you “Friars Faithful” break out the party favors though, I must inform you that the Padres signed Freddy Garcia and Tim Stauffer to Minor League contracts. So, sorry to those of you still clinging to the faint hope that the franchise would swing a trade for Rick Porcello, but a move like that at this point is nothing more than a fantasy.
Although I am not overly excited about these particular signings, I can definitely understand why each one was made. In Stauffer’s case, the familiarity aspect probably weighed heavily, plus the fact that he has enjoyed some success in a Long Relief role back in 2010 as well. Despite the fact that Stauffer’s health has failed him multiple times over the course of his career (most recently his right elbow), he has been productive when called upon and at full health (2011 Stats: 31 Starts, 9-12, 3.73 ERA, 185.2 IP, 128 K’s).
The signing also illustrates that the Coaching Staff is comfortable enough with Stauffer to give him another shot to compete for playing time. And I am sure most Friars fans (including yours truly) can appreciate the veteran’s resiliency as he has battled back multiple times over his career from various injuries. Think back to last February too Friars fans, it was Stauffer who was in line to be San Diego’s #1 Starter. Thus, if the veteran’s overall health and pitching elbow permit him to, he could be in line to log some quality Innings for this team this year in some way shape or form.
The Garcia move is a tad puzzling, especially when one takes into account how the veteran will be turning 37 in October of this year. What exactly the Padres expect to get out of a Pitcher who has seen his Innings decline in each of the last three seasons (157.0 to 146.2 to 107.1) and only threw a combined 149.0 in the three years before I’m not sure, but the team still needs emergency arms. Keep in mind however that there have been some veteran Starters have enjoyed successful stints with the Padres as of late. So if Garcia finds his way onto the big league roster, count me in as intrigued to see what transpires if he is given the chance to take the hill every fifth day.
At least to me, both cost-effective signings showed that the Padres obviously feel confident in the “Richard-Volquez-Stults-Marquis” Quartet projected to start the 2013 season. Otherwise, G.M. Josh Byrnes would have likely made a stronger push to acquire more Starting Pitching depth during such a crucial offseason period for the rebuilding Padres.
It certainly appears that the Friars brass’ are trying to cover their Starting Pitching bases before this year begins, and I cannot blame the Front Office for trying to make moves no matter how minute they seem. By June of last year, the team had already exhausted all of the Starting Rotation options who they believed were enough to get them through 2012’s 162-game marathon. This in turn led the team to sign numerous veteran Free Agents, as well as bring up many Minor Leaguers who might not have been ready to contribute at those specific stages in their respective careers’. By the All-Star Break, the Friars were all but eliminated and their lack of Starting Pitching was a big reason why.
How much Stauffer and Garcia will actually pitch in 2013 is still a mystery, and in what sort of capacity each will be used in as well should be an interesting thing to watch for during Spring Training. Who knows though? Maybe all of the guys slotted in front of the recently signed veteran Right-Handers can not only stay healthy this season, but pitch effectively enough to keep Stauffer and Garcia in the Minor Leagues or relegated to Relief duties.
At least, that’s what I hope will happen. What actually will happen has yet to be determined.
Stats & Contract Information Courtesy of: Baseball Reference