Padres Sign Another Bat: Micah Owings


Oh yeah, he can pitch too.  Yesterday, news broke that the Padres were interested in Micah Ownings, the former Diamondbacks pitcher.  Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune reported the team was interested but a deal was not in place.  However, Ken Rosenthal reported the Padres and Owings had agreed on a one-year deal.  If we are to believe Rosenthal, the Padres will pay Owings $1 million for the 2012 season.

Owings spent the 2011 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and went 8-0 while positing a 3.57 ERA.  He was utilized mostly from the bullpen and started just four games.  However, prior to the 2010 season, while still in Cincinnati and originally with Arizona, Owings was a regular starter for the Reds and Diamondbacks.  In 2007, with the Dbacks, he started 27 games.  In 2008 and 2009, he started 18 and 19 respectively.  But he was moved to the bullpen in 2010.

Owings owns a career 32-31 record with a 4.91 ERA.  However, he seemed to thrive out of the bullpen in Arizona.  His strikeout rate dropped, but so did his walk rate.  Working from the pen helped Owings increase his strikeout/walk ratio from 1.4 in 2010 to 1.91 in 2011.  He’s always given up a ton of hits per nine innings, and that didn’t change last season.  However, he was able to control those hits better as a reliever rather than a starter.

It’s not yet apparent how the Padres will use Owings, but it’s probably a safe bet to assume they start him in the pen.  They will use him for spot starting duties, and they will now have a viable option if one of their current starters goes down to injury.  However, Owing could also earn himself a straight starting role.  If he can build on last season’s results and show that he can do so while pitching more than an inning or two at a time, Owings could be the Padres number 4 or number 5 starter by July.  He’s young and has room for improvement, but he will have to prove he can shoulder starting duties before the team considers using him regularly.  But considering the propensity to injuries this Padres starting rotation has shown, it’s probably a worthy insurance policy to have in the bullpen.

On the offensive side of things, the Padres will have another pinch-hitter in Owings.  He is one of the best hitting pitchers in the league.  His career triple slash (in 217 plate appearances) is .286/.313/.507.  He has a .820 OPS in that time as well.  He’s also clubbed nine home runs in his career.  In 2007, Owings even won a Silver Slugger.

Micah Owings brings more than just his pitching arm to San Diego.  He brings another option at the plate.  In all, this was a good move for San Diego.  It was a safe move, but has the potential for a large upside.  It seems like we’ve been saying that a lot with Josh Byrnes this offseason.  He has truly embraced the buy low, sell high mentality for the most part.