San Diego Padres: Starting Rotation if Season Started Today

Aug 14, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

With an eye towards Opening Day, how does the starting rotation look for the San Diego Padres? We project the order of the five starters.

As spring training games begin, competition for the starting rotation of the San Diego Padres is heating up. Besides the first two or three, spots are as wide open as they could possibly be.

Manager Andy Green and the coaching staff will have a lot to consider when looking at each starter. Whether or not they are a good fit, their talent, consistency, versatility, and ability to go deep in games.

While it is impossible to calculate how San Diego pitchers will perform in Cactus League play, we can project the starting rotation as far as we know. In other words, if Opening Day were to be tomorrow and the Padres were forced to put their rotation together based only on what they currently know, the starting five would look something like this:

Clayton Richard: A Padre from 2009 through 2013, Richard returned in August of last season and put together a solid final two months. His career’s rejuvenation is likely only beginning, and the 33-year-old is ready to put forth a solid effort in 2017 if he remains healthy. As a veteran, a left-hander, and a natural starter, it will be hard for any of the other hurlers on the roster to compete with someone with the skill and character of Richard. He should be the leader of the rotation, and manager Andy Green has even dropped hints that he will be. Essentially, Richard is the ace.

Jered Weaver: It is somewhat ironic that a pitching staff as young as that of the Padres will feature a 33 and 34-year-old starter at the first two rotation slots. While not ideal for the future, this is how 2017 is shaping up. Weaver was just signed by the Padres on a one-year, $3 million contract. He has shown steady decline statistically over the last four seasons as a member of the Angels, making this spring critical for him to prove himself. Overall though, a veteran like Weaver will be welcomed and he will serve as a leader to this young rotation who is still able to put forward seven shutout innings on occasion.

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Jhoulys Chacin: Signed on December 20th on a one-year, $1.75 million contract, Chacin will inherit a starting role due to a lack of better options. At 29 years old, the right-hander has started 135 games in his major league career and has a career ERA of 3.94 in eight seasons. Padres fans don’t know much about Chacin, as he has gone under the radar for much of the offseason and even at the beginning of spring training. It appears that they soon will know much more about one of the club’s new pitchers, as he is in line to be the third starter.

Trevor Cahill: Yet another offseason addition who makes the starting rotation. Three out of the five projected San Diego starters were signed within the last two months. While Cahill has spent recent seasons with the world champion Chicago Cubs in the bullpen, his return to a rotation will come as a result of moving to the Padres. At 28 years old, Cahill has a lot of career left. The Padres hope he can use some of his best seasons physically to be a consistent and reliable fourth starter.

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Christian Friedrich: Friedrich is the one starter on this list who was not a free agent following 2016. Though not many around baseball have heard of the 29-year-old, we project him to emerge from a large group of starters to take the highly contested fifth starting role. Though other capable pitchers in contention include Jarred Cosart, Luis Perdomo, Tyrell Jenkins, and Paul Clemens, Friedrich has the most major league experience, playing three seasons with the Rockies and starting 23 games for San Diego last season. Friedrich also has an advantage automatically as a left-hander, and his off speed pitches provide good balance and contrast to the rest of the rotation.

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San Diego’s rotation will dominate the spring training headlines. Competition for these five spots will be highly contested, as nine players on the roster are easily capable.

Have a different idea of how the rotation should look when Opening Day comes? Let us know in the comments section below!