The San Diego Padres added more minor league depth this week, signing Craig Stammen, Brett Wallace, and Carlos Villanueva.
The San Diego Padres are not letting the holiday season halt their efforts to improve the structure of their organization. Adding more minor league depth this week, A.J. Preller and the front office is committed to making this young Padres organization a deep and resilient one.
Craig Stammen is the addition that jumps out the most of these three, as the right-handed veteran is the most proven. With a career ERA of 3.91 in seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, the 32-year-old has pitched in 229 major league games, 191 of which were in relief.
This signing is the third in the last two weeks which is expected to improve the pitching staff, though the impact may not be felt as much as the re-signing of Clayton Richard or the addition of Jhoulys Chacin.
Brett Wallace is making a return to the organization after spending parts of 2015 and 2016 with the major league club. After Preller and the front office decided to allow the corner infielder to become a free agent earlier this offseason, they met the need that they created by taking the 30-year-old back.
Wallace joins a busy infield the Padres have. Providing depth to a group which includes Wil Myers, Yangervis Solarte, and possibly Ryan Schimpf, Wallace is a reliable player with a below average bat. Though the idea isn’t to make the six year veteran an everyday player, or even a player on the major league roster, depth is the main reason for adding Wallace.
The most unfamiliar name added to the Padres’ minor league system this week is third baseman Christian Villanueva. A Mexican born seven year minor leaguer, Villanueva is a very exciting player at third base. Consistency has been a problem, as the 25-year-old’s gradual ascension through the minors has had its ups and downs.
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The Chicago Cubs decided to non-tender their young infield prospect earlier this offseason, leaving his options wide open. The Padres, looking for a somewhat capable corner infielder with upside for an affordable price, saw Villanueva as that option.
All three players were signed with the expectation of competing for AAA El Paso. However, as Padres fans know all too well, there may be opportunities for these three to perform in San Diego. With this in mind, Preller and the front office went after two of their major weaknesses, relief pitching and the corners of the infield.
With 2017 rapidly approaching, the Padres need to be thinking about much more than improving their young rotation. Depth is key, and these three signings will solidify the upper end of the minor league system, providing security for a young major league roster.