San Diego Padres: Organizing the Bullpen
How is the bullpen shaping up for the San Diego Padres? We break down the club’s relief options as Opening Day approaches.
The San Diego Padres’ weakness entering 2017 is clearly their pitching staff, but more so their rotation than their bullpen. The pen, though not as deep as the team would like it to be, is coming together fairly nicely in camp.
For the second consecutive season, it appears that 26-year-old Brandon Maurer will take on closing duties. It is also looking good for super reliever Ryan Buchter, who came on strong in 2016, and Brad Hand, quite possibly the club’s top all around reliever.
Beyond these three, spots are up in the air. It would seem logical that whichever arm doesn’t win a rotation spot would still make the roster as a relief option, most likely for long inning situations. Examples of hurlers which may end up on the roster in this capacity are Jarred Cosart, Luis Perdomo, and Christian Friedrich.
But the Padres need more than back end relievers and long inning relievers. What they really ought to be focusing on in these final days before the regular season commences is the middle of these two extremes, the seventh and eighth inning specialists.
There is no point to having a strong back end of the bullpen if the middle inning relievers don’t do their job. And the problem is, the Padres have yet to find the pitchers who are going to fill the middle inning relief void.
More from Friars on Base
- Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
Options do however include the bearded Kevin Quackenbush, veteran right-hander Craig Stammen, and one of spring’s surprises, Phil Maton. Carter Capps, despite his elbow injury, should be ready for Opening Day, and is another option.
The bottom line is, San Diego’s options are plentiful, but they do still need to find the right arms and consistency in the bullpen. This must be done in the final days of spring training, as the club will be in trouble if Opening Day comes and their bullpen isn’t yet organized.
Next: Curse at Shortstop Continues
In these final days, roster spots are on the line, players are making their final physical and mental preparations, and the club is coming together. It is an exciting time, no doubt, but for San Diego’s bullpen, it is absolutely critical. A lot of tough decisions will be made which will help define how the team will perform this season. Hopefully this time, the Padres get it right.