How the Padres might fill out the rest of their 60-man player pool

The Padres currently have 52 out of a possible 60 players in the player pool for the 2020 season. How might they utilize the final eight spots?

An unusual aspect of the shortened 2020 season was the inclusion of the “taxi squad” roster, allowing each team to carry up to 60 players for the duration of the season. Now, only about half of those can be on the active roster, but it still allows the Padres some flexibility while preventing their top prospects from sitting idle all year.

And on Sunday, we learned that the Padres reserved 52-of-60 spots, leaving room for others to be added before the season begins at the end of the month. In terms of the roster, the Padres announced that they’ll carry 26 pitchers, including both MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino, five catchers, 12 infielders, and nine outfielders.

Since then, a couple of items have surfaced, altering the initial player pool, as Breyvic Valera was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays. Also, third-round pick Cole Wilcox officially signed, and the Padres made a trade for the speedy Jorge Mateo.

So I guess technically the Padres are +1 since Sunday’s pool, leaving seven spots open. How might they use them? First, a reminder, players not on the 40-man roster cannot be removed unless they are released. And players on the 40-man roster can be removed but must be exposed to waivers, which explains Valera’s situation.

The only two members of the 40-man roster not added to the player pool are Andres Munoz and Anderson Espinoza, who both underwent Tommy John surgery before the regular season was initially set to begin. Could they be added later on to resume throwing and continue rehabbing with their teammates?

Obviously, if any injuries pop up or a player contracts COVID-19, that will open the door – for lack of a better phrase – for others to be added to the pool.

The Padres could also opt to add a few key minor leaguers that could potentially benefit from practicing alongside the regulars. They likely won’t see any playing time unless any circumstances as mentioned earlier occur. Still, there is something to be said for these players learning from colleagues that were once in their shoes.

Next: Predicting the 30-man roster as summer camp opens

I think what’s most likely to happen is the Padres will leave the pool at 53 players for now, and add to it as needed to avoid a log-jam or a scenario where they would be forced to release or place a player on waivers. It’s not exciting or glamorous by any means, but it’s the most realistic option right now.

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