The San Diego Padres are a team trying to hang onto their last glimmer of hope for a postseason spot, but those hopes took a crushing blow when they lost three of four at home to the reeling Diamondbacks. That series loss put the Padres back at seven games under .500 with their postseason odds at a season-low.
The roster in September will look different with rosters expanding to 28 from their usual 26. This helps certain players remain in the fold who might not in normal circumstances, but San Diego still has three players who could find themselves either in the minors or DFA'd by September 1.
1) San Diego Padres pitcher Pedro Avila will suffer the same fate many relievers with options deal with
This is the classic relievers with options scenario. Pedro Avila has done absolutely nothing to warrant being sent down. In his six appearances (one start), he has a 0.81 ERA. He's allowed two runs in 22.1 innings of work. That is, obviously, exceptional production especially from a guy getting his first long run in the majors.
There are two issues with Avila. First, he's a long reliever. He's used for four or occasionally even five innings in his appearances, and that makes him unavailable for many days consecutively. This makes him an easy target as a player San Diego can simply send down for a fresh arm if they need one, and then call back up when they want length.
Second, he has options. This means Avila can be sent up and down up to five times this season without consequence. The team does not have to DFA him or risk losing him if they choose to option him down.
Let's say Avila goes four innings one day and the rest of the bullpen is exhausted. Avila is the guy they'd send down to get a fresh arm, even if he doesn't deserve it.
The Padres should be getting Tim Hill back sometime soon. The only relievers with options are Avila, Tom Cosgrove, Scott Barlow, and Steven Wilson. Barlow and Wilson aren't going anywhere, and Cosgrove shouldn't either with how great he's been in the 'pen. This leaves Avila as the only realistic option, even if he is undeserving.