San Diego Padres: Impact of MacKenzie Gore making the roster
By Ryan Sikes
Finding what’s best for the team and for the player.
A wise man once said that you can never have too much pitching. This is a good problem to have, especially given the Padres’ recent track record of being thin at the position. However, I think they need to find that balance this year between finding what’s best for their long-term future and also what’s best for the player to succeed.
Unfortunately, I believe that signals a trade (or trades) are likely coming in the near future, but that’s also assuming guys in the big league rotation stay healthy. We are looking at you, Garrett Richard, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Paddack. Given the uncertainty at other positions accompanied by the questionable depth at that position, here are several options that would seem plausible.
Option #1: Trade Quantrill and Morejon for assets.
With only Richards set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, the Padres rotation is going to be intact for years to come. If Gore makes the Opening Day roster, I think you ask that Lucchesi begin the year at Triple-A, with the potential of being the first promoted in the event of an injury, and then sliding into the rotation permanently next year.
That would likely mean parting with both Quantrill and Morejon for assets to address deficiencies in the current roster, while potentially setting themselves up in the future in other areas.
Option #2: Trade Lucchesi, temporary demotion for Quantrill, and move Baez to the bullpen
Another scenario that could make some sense if trading Lucchesi before the regular season – perhaps to the Yankees who are in desperate need of pitching help right now – and Quantrill and Baez would temporarily be demoted and moved to the bullpen, respectively. Baez posted a 3.03 ERA in 24 appearances out of the ‘pen last year for the Padres, and could potentially latch on as the 26th roster spot.
With a full rotation and full bullpen, the 25-year-old Quantrill could begin the year at Triple-A El Paso. Adrian Morejon would also begin the year at Triple-A with either him or Quantrill battling it out if the Padres’ front office lets Garrett Richards walk in free agency after the upcoming season. I don’t mind the idea of Morejon spending all of 2020 in the minors, given his struggles to remain healthy last year.
Option #3: Do nothing
The last option is to do nothing and let the situation play itself out for this year, at least. Injuries are part of the game, and with both Lamet and Richards recently coming back from Tommy John surgery, the odds of both remaining healthy all year are not strong, so this is where the depth of the rotation comes into play.
With Gore in the rotation, Lucchesi, Quantrill, and Morejon start the year at Triple-A with Baez potentially cracking the 26-man roster, and the Padres reassess everything after the 2020 season.