Padres News: Wil Nieves Retained, Not on Roster


Since Tim Federowicz hurt his knee and landed on the 60-day disabled list, the San Diego Padres have been looking for someone to backup Derek Norris.  The battle has seemed to be in favor of veteran Wil Nieves over minor leaguer Rocky Gale.  According to‘s Padres beat writer Corey Brock, on Wednesday the Padres front office paid Nieves $100,000 to retain him until rosters are finalized Sunday.

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While Nieves, on paper, is the clear favorite, he is not the best of options.  He is 37 years old, an average defender, and had only a .270 on-base percentage last season; during the spring thus far, Nieves has only a .281 OBP.

His nearest competitor, Rocky Gale, has had only eight plate appearances all spring, and the 27 year-old has never made it to the majors.  According to Brock, Gale is seen as a better defensive catcher than Nieves, but the difference is only slight.  Gale has a .279 career minor league OBP.

What this decision indicates, is that the front office is not particularly thrilled with either pick.  They probably would have decided by now if they were happy with one candidate.  Austin Romine – a backup catcher for the Yankees – has been floated out there as a possible trade target for GM A.J. Preller.  However, I don’t think Romine would be a better option than the Padres already have.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Padres are “actively taking calls on relievers.”  With one reliever more than the roster can handle, perhaps Preller is looking for a catcher noticeably better than what he has.

The Padres have room on the roster to trade away a reliever, and don’t forget that the Padres still have Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin.  Preller needs to shed two out of those three before the end of spring so the Padres can bring Tommy Medica back to the majors and keep another deserving player on the roster.

Federowicz has not proven himself to be anything but a liability at the plate.  The Padres do not have a proven backup even when he is healthy.  So, is a trade in the works? Stay tuned to Friars On Base.

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