Like it or not Friars fans, but San Diego’s Starting Rotation still has far more questions surrounding it than answers as the team begins Spring Training this week. You know, questions like:
Will Tyson Ross be able to crack the Starting Five after a mediocre career in Oakland?
The Astros are rumored to be willing to trade Norris. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres might still be open to adding a Starting Pitcher to the mix this Spring…well they sort of are. In a recent article by Corey Brock of Padres.com, G.M. Josh Byrnes stated the following:
"But we’re comfortable with seeing how our guys look. There might be a need [to add a pitcher] but there might not be."
If the Friars do elect to add another Starting Rotation candidate to the mix, both the Astros and Royals might be willing to accommodate them. According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Houston could be looking to move Bud Norris to add depth and future starters at other positions. Norris would definitely benefit from Petco Park’s spacious dimensions (2011-2012: 13-24 record in 60 Starts), and a trade to San Diego could drive his Home Run totals down also (47 over the last two years). If acquired, Norris could easily be the #4 guy in the Padres’ Starting Rotation, and his ability to record Strikeouts (8.7 per 9 Innings over last 2 years) would undoubtedly help the team too. The 28 year old Right-Hander is the fact that will also not be eligible for Free Agency until the 2016 season, and could log some serious Innings and Starts for whichever team acquires him.
Similar to the Astros, the Royals are apparently also willing to unload a Starting Pitcher or two before the regular season begins. Big buyers and movers and shakers, Kansas City acquired James Shields, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana during the offseason. With these big names in town, the Royals are looking to move some of the Starters already on their roster like Luke Hochevar. Hochevar is supposedly on the trading block after he had a down year in 2012. After Hochevar recorded career highs in Wins (11), Starts (31), Innings Pitched (198.0), and Strikeouts (128), the Right-Hander struggled mightily last season to the tune of this statline: 8-16, 5.73 ERA, 32 Starts, 185.1 IP, 118 ER’s (Most in AL), 27 HR’s, 144 K’s. The soon to be 30 year-old will reach Free Agent status in 2015, and could be an experienced acquisition to help the Padres as they continue to rebuild. In addition to his contract length, Hochevar would be a relatively cheap option for the Padres to turn to as he is scheduled to make $4.56 million dollars this year.
I understand that the frugal Friars are at least hoping that their in-house options are able to work out this year. But I am sure that you readers are familiar with the phrase that: “a team can never have too much Pitching,” right? Well last year, the Padres faced the unfortunate reality of having “Not Enough Pitching” as multiple starters went down with various injuries, and some of the replacements proved to be ineffective.
Although the thought of adding another arm to the Starting Rotation mix intrigues me, I believe that the Padres finished adding Rotational depth with the signings of Garcia and Stauffer. As I referenced in a previous post, I believe that the re-building Padres are better off evaluating what they have in terms of in-house Rotational depth over the course of the 2013 campaign. This in turn should set them up to make a strong push during next offseason to attempt to fix each problem area in their Rotation.
Extra Pitching, especially Starting Pitching, is always a welcome addition to any Big League team though. Yet I sincerely doubt that the Padres’ brass are ready to add any more before the season begins, even if they are cost-effective options like Hochevar or Norris.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference