Padres News: Jose Valverde “Has a Good Chance of Making the Team” Says Preller


San Diego Padres GM, A.J. Preller, gave non-roster invitee, Jose Valverde, a vote of confidence yesterday, telling‘s Barry M. Bloom that “He has a good chance of making the team”.

Now, I don’t know how the subject of Valverde was brought up, so it’s tough to give too much merit to the comment. Preller could have been asked the odds of him making the team and in an effort to not throw him under the bus, he offered him support. Or it’s possible he could be speaking completely truthfully and he does believe that Valverde will make the team.

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For the sake of argument, we’ll take the latter of the two.

So, if Valverde does make the team, where does he fit in and whose spot is he taking?

My current prediction for the pen has Joaquin Benoit as the closer, Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer as the set up guys, Shawn Kelley and Nick Vincent in middle relief, and lastly Alex Torres and Frank Garces as the lefty specialists. “Papa Grande” could sneak in if the team decides it only wants to carry one lefty, or if he beats out Vincent and Dale Thayer for a middle relief role.

Valverde does have something that the Padres pen is lacking in, POWER.

The pen is filled with guys whose fastballs sit around the low to mid 90s. Valverde says he’s still hitting 98 MPH, even though he turns 37 next week. That power could be a weapon for Bud Black, but only if Valverde can harness it correctly. Harnessing that has always been an issue for him. With a career walk rate of 3.77, pitching one inning at a time means at least one walk per inning. Earlier in his career he was able to pitch around the walks, but as his 4.46 ERA over the past three seasons suggests he’s not able to get out of those jams as much as he used to.

I find it tough to believe that Valverde will break camp with the team, but he’s got a chance to make an impact later in the season. With the volatility of relief pitchers coupled with the injury risks of pitchers in general, there’s a very small chance the Padres keep the same bullpen throughout the entire season. There will be opportunities for relievers to fill the cracks when needed and it sounds like Preller has confidence that Valverde could be one of those guys.

Next: The Mayne Event comes to Padres Camp

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