Padres Have Bullpen Options, but Are They Good Options?


The Padres have been flooding the roster lately with lots of bullpen arms, ranging from former starters like Philip Humber to former closers like Casey Janssen. Currently their best closer option will also be trying to prove that he is still an option in Fernando Rodney, with a few younger players like Kevin Quackenbush hoping to give some competition as well. Is there a way to measure the options?

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To get a feel for what the Padres have had in the past, Fred Zinkle of ranks a few different tiers of closers in MLB, and there are no current Padres among them.

Last years closer Craig Kimbrel is rated in the Tier 1 category and deservedly so. Yet for where the Padres are at his talent was better used elsewhere, and acquiring two prospects in the top 100 list makes it worth the loss.

In Tier 3 of his closer rankings, we see former Padres closer Huston Street and former Padres reliever Brad Boxberger who saved 41 games for the Rays last season despite having the highest ERA of his career.

Rodney is penciled in currently as the closer for the Padres, and Jon Edwards is another candidate to close who came over in the Will Venable trade last season. Nick Vincent who will be entering his fifth season with the Padres is coming off a rough 2015 where he only made 20 appearances with the Major League club and based on how A.J. Preller is clearing out any Padres he didn’t inherit it seems like he could be an early casualty.

Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Maurer are both interesting players to watch for the Padres. Maurer is currently slotted to be the number four starter but Pomeranz also has starting pitching experience, and would provide a left-handed option in the rotation if Robbie Erlin doesn’t make it into the rotation. Will one or both end up in the rotation or both in the bullpen with the ability to go multiple innings?

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If Pomeranz does go into the rotation, that would help Buddy Baumann as a left-handed specialist as well to make the club. A lot of this will all get sorted out in spring training, but speculation is what we as fans are expected to do in the meantime. My vote would be for Quack to be the closer with the Rodney the 8th inning guy and Jon Edwards in the 7th inning spot. I believe if the Padres wish to give their team experience for the future, this would be the most beneficial.

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Personally, I’ve long been a fan of Quackenbush and would much rather see him assume the closer role for the Padres long term growth plan and see Rodney take on a Joaquin Benoit role as the setup man in the 8th. Of course, one of the biggest question marks about Rodney is his erratic personality. Could he be a setup man or is he one of those closers that can’t get it done when not under the highest pressure of the 9th inning?