The eight relievers to fill out the roster will be the most difficult decision of the spring, barring injury. Let’s start with the easy ones:
Kirby Yates was the most dominant closer and effective reliever in the National League last season. This is a lock. Hopefully there will be a contract extension before Opening Day.
Drew Pomeranz was dominant in his time with the Milwaukee Brewers last season and can either set up for Yates or give him a breather and close games.
Craig Stammen recently resigned with the Padres and is a leader in the clubhouse and bullpen as well as a versatile reliever who can pitch in any situation. There needs to be a 40 man move to add him to the roster. That should come soon.
Matt Strahm showed himself to be a more effective pitcher in relief than as a starter. He and Pomeranz will be the veteran left handers in the pen.
The next 5 spots will be hotly contested in the spring and it’s anyone’s guess who will win out at the end of spring training. Here are my guesses:
Jose Castillo is a 23 yrs old, talented and a giant of a man at 6′ 5″ and 246 lbs. His upper 90’s fastball and breaking stuff should play well if he can be consistent.
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Javy Guerra is a 24 yr old converted shortstop who couldn’t hit but throws upper 90’s and touches 100 mph. His secondary pitch, a slider, is also swing and miss. The Padres must use him or trade him as he is out of options.
Andres Munoz has the potential to succeed Yates as the closer for the Padres. His fastball/slider combination needs more consistency but his stuff is devastating.
Pierce Johnson spent 2019 in Japan working on his pitches and finding success. If his hard work translates back to major league baseball the Padres have a middle innings gem in the making.
Luis Perdomo and Cal Quantrill could be the innings eaters/swing men for the Padres bullpen. Assuming Quantrill loses out to Luchessi for the rotation, he would be the first to come in on a bad day by a starter or to make a spot start.
Perdomo has proven more effective as a reliever than a starter and could prove very useful to extend a game for a starter who is unable to get into the 5th innings or eat innings for what we hope will be the rare blowout game. He also can provide spot starts.
That would be the full 26 man roster with flexibility built in at every position. The Padres would undoubtedly be the only team in baseball with two 2-way players in Cronenworth and Guerra, assuming Guerra would only play short in an emergency.
Starting Pitchers: Paddack, Richards, Lamet, Davies, Lucchesi (5)
Starting Eight: Mejia, Hosmer, Profar, Tatis, Machado, Pham, Cordero, Naylor (8)
Bench: Myers, Margot, Cronnenworth, Garcia, Hedges (5)
Bullpen: Yates, Pomeranz, Stammen, Strahm, Castillo, Guerra, Munoz, and Johnson (8)
I could see this team winning over 82 games if they can stay healthy. And if GM Preller makes more offseason moves there could be added strength to the outfield, infield or rotation. Let us know who you would have on your 26-man roster right now in the comments below.