Padres News: Bud Black Comfortable With Bullpen Depth


On Thursday San Diego Padres manager Bud Black indicated that a handful of Padres pitchers could also get save chances this year. No breaking news or change in the closers job. Just Bud Black discussing his options.

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Black insisted Joaquin Benoit is still the closer, but says he is comfortable with another pitcher throwing in the 9th inning if need be. He has a lot of options. There are some guys in the bullpen who have already gone through the pressures of being a major league stopper.

The Padres manager spoke to the media and Corey Brock from brings us the story. Black spoke specifically about Benoit and said:

"“You want your closer in games because that means you have a lead… And if he’s closing games that means you are winning. That means at some point, we have got to put Joaquin down (because), he can’t pitch every game. That’s what I want. Joaquin is projected to be our closer but if he’s down then we have a number of options to choose from, guys who have closed Major League games and guys who have been successful at it.”"

Bud Black is referring to and named Kevin Quackenbush, Shawn Kelley, Nick Vincent and Dale Thayer as possible closersAll of these pitchers have closed out games at the Major League level, as a matter of fact Quackenbush earned six saves last season when Joaquin Benoit was on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. He would be my choice to close out games if Benoit was out.

In addition to those four, I believe Brandon Morrow and Brandon Maurer could also close out games if needed. Morrow has 16 career saves and I wrote about his ability to throw in the bullpen. You can check that article out here. Brandon Maurer has nasty stuff, and his true calling is probably yet to be determined. He could ultimately end up in the starting rotation. Both have a lot of flexibility.

You can never have too much depth in the bullpen, especially if you want to win games deep into the season. To have this assortment of arms is a great thing for the San Diego Padres, and in fact the depth might ultimately result in a trade or two. You never know what Padres GM A.J. Preller has up his sleeve.

If another team comes calling for bullpen help, then a deal could quite possibly be consummated. There are just too many arms in the Padres bullpen for all the opening spots. The likes of Nick Vincent, Jose Valverde, Scott Elbert, Robbie Erlin and Frank Garces might just have value to another team. They all unfortunately, in my opinion, are not going to make the 25 man roster out of spring.

You never know, as games have just begun. Injuries can take hold of a major league roster very swiftly, another great reason to have this much flexibility. Bravo to the Padres front office. The San Diego Padres are certainly built for the long road, we shall see where that road leads them.

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