Padres News: Padres Sign Carlos Villanueva

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Aug 21, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva (33) pitches during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva (33) pitches during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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At this point in the offseason, the Padres have yet to find a clear relief ace. The bullpen is a series of generically decent arms. Wednesday, General Manager A.J. Preller added to it with Carlos Villanueva.

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Villanueva spent 2015 in St. Louis where he had one of the best years of his career. With the machine that seems to elevate all its players known as the Cardinals, Villanueva threw 61 innings for a 2.95 ERA. Villanueva gave up more walks in 2015. While his hits per nine declined enough to compensate for the increased walks and then some, his FIP registered at 3.74 – a noticeable degree higher than his ERA. However, his WHIP and hits per nine where each the second-best of his career and at no point in 2015 did he surrender a lead he was given. It was only the second season in his ten-year career in which Villanueva didn’t make a start.

With nearly equal innings in his career as a starter and coming out of the pen, the Villanueva has ERAs of 5.00 and 3.47 respectively. Going into his age 32 season, the former-Cardinal figures to stay in the bullpen.

If Villanueva is to start, he will have to surpass a field of Robbie Erlin, Colin Rea, Odrisamer Despaigne and perhaps Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Maurer as well.

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While Maurer and Pomeranz are locks to at least make the bullpen, the signing of Villanueva will likely most effect Despaigne. In all likelihood, Villanueva will stay in the pen and will fill the long man’s role. Unless the Padre starters decide to throw 5 innings every night, Despaigne will be redundant. Considering Despaigne put up a pitiful 5.80 ERA, 10.2 H/9, 4.9 K/9, and a 4.77 FIP in 125.2 innings, his redundancy is not much of a disappointment.

Ultimately, Villanueva is not an awe-inspiring addition. He will be an improvement certainly. If the Padres find a bullpen ace, either on the roster as it is or somewhere else, Villanueva will be a solid multi-inning reliever.

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