3 Padres who are in danger of losing playing time

These three Padres players are holding the team back at the moment.
Milwaukee Brewers v San Diego Padres
Milwaukee Brewers v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

As we approach the mid-point of the 2024 season, the Padres continue to hover around the .500 mark and are firmly in the conversation for one of the NL Wild Card spots.

GM AJ Preller is expected to be busy over the course of the next month, working to add to a roster that has had its share of issues this year. The rotation has been a problem, with Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove both making multiple IL trips.

Xander Bogaerts wasn't particularly good during prior to his shoulder injury, but the Padres have struggled to find a balance in his absence. Thankfully, Manny Machado seems to have turned a corner and is hitting .323/.382/.452 in June, providing a major boost for the offense.

But even considering Machado's resurgence, Preller is going to have to make some adjustments if the Padres want to remain competitive down the stretch.

These 3 Padres are most at risk of losing playing time thanks to poor performance

Tyler Wade was brought on board earlier this offseason to be a utility man for Mike Shildt. He's been a middling hitter, slashing .242/.324/.264 with just two extra-base hits all year, both doubles.

Thus far, the front office has decided that Wade's defensive versatility has been enough to warrant keeping him around. Wade has spent time at five different defensive positions, though he hasn't been a good defender at any of them.

Wade doesn't have any minor league options remaining, so the Padres would have to either find a trade partner or DFA him to get him off the roster. If he keeps hitting like this, his roster spot will be in jeopardy.

The Padres' rotation is in desperate need of an upgrade

Randy Vasquez has had a tough sophomore season. He's struggled to a 5.10 ERA and he has one of the lowest strikeout rates in the sport, currently at 14.6%.

The young righty had some success in the Yankees' minor league system, but that hasn't translated well to his time in San Diego. He throws six unique pitches and has enough velocity to theoretically induce whiffs, but it just hasn't come together.

A healthy Joe Musgrove would push Vasquez back to the minors, but with question marks surrounding Musgrove's short-term availability, one has to think that Preller is searching for a way to add a viable back-end starter before the deadline.

The bullpen has been a strength, but there's still room for improvement

As good as the back end of the Padres' bullpen has been, there's one middle reliever that's sticking out like a sore thumb, and that's Stephen Kolek.

Kolek was nabbed by the Padres in the Rule 5 draft this past year. Despite having no previous major league experience, the Padres have relied heavily on him in 2024.

Kolek has pitched to a 5.14 ERA and is second among Padres' relievers with 35 IP. He's been a bit unlucky, as he's allowed a .368 BABIP and a below-average 67.6% strand rate, leading to a 3.49 FIP.

The Padres are in a tight spot with Kolek being a Rule 5 guy. They'll need to keep him on the active roster all year if they want him to remain in the organization. However, if he keeps struggling to post good results, Preller and the Padres might need to make a decision about whether they think Kolek is a viable part of their future.