Spring Training Position Battles: Relief Pitching


In the last installment of the Spring Training Position Battles series I will feature the relief corp. In this series, we took an in depth look at some of the positions that are up for grabs. We will continue to analyze candidates at that position and track each player’s progress throughout the spring.

Aug 6, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Huston Street (16) wets his fingers during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Situation: Last year’s bullpen wasn’t as solid as it had been in years past, but it was good enough to have the ninth best bullpen ERA in the Major Leagues.

The bullpen was a work in progress, as top relief prospects Nick Vincent, Tommy Layne, Brad Boxberger and Miles Mikolas made their Big League debuts.

Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street added much needed veteran experience for the younger guys. With a year of experience under their belt, I expect the bullpen to be a much better group this year.

New Additions: Fautino De Los Santos is the newest addition to the relief squad. The Padres plucked the Dominican right-hander off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers to add depth at the position.

Tyson Ross is more of a starter than a reliever, but if he does not make the starting rotation, he could find his way into the bullpen.

Jason Ray, Daniel Stange and Jerry Sullivan all signed Minor League contracts

Re-signed: The Padres avoided arbitration with setup man Luke Gregerson by signing him to a one-year, $3.2 million contract for the 2013 season.

Positional Outlook: As it stands right now, Huston Street is the club’s closer, with Gregerson and Dale Thayer serving as setup men.

The left-handed specialists are Thatcher and Layne. Brad Brach could serve in a dual role as a long reliever and a setup man. I believe there is room for one more in the bullpen, and that spot is up for grabs.

The four leading candidates for that final bullpen slot are Mikolas, Ross, Anthony Bass and Andrew Cashner.

I would like to see Mikolas or Bass get the last spot with Ross or Cashner slotted in the rotation.

This is the last of the Spring Training Position Battles. Hope you enjoyed the series. Let us know in the comment box below who you would like to see win the final spot in the bullpen.