Key pitcher from Padres-Yankees Juan Soto trade will begin season in minor leagues

The Padres rotation is set, and it doesn't include Randy Vasquez.

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Randy Vasquez (98) throws
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Randy Vasquez (98) throws / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres made the rather unpopular decision this offseason to trade Juan Soto to the New York Yankees. After failing to come to a contract extension with Soto, and seeing no way to keep the All-Star outfielder in San Diego, AJ Preller and Brian Cashman made a deal.

The Padres received a lot of arms in return. Michael King, who's part of the Padres Opening Day rotation, was involved of the trade. So was catcher Kyle Higashioka and swingman Jhony Brito. Pitching prospect Drew Thorpe was regarded as a nice piece, but he's since been traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of the Friars trade for Dylan Cease.

The final piece of the trade puzzle was Randy Vasquez. Unfortunately for the right-hander, he will not be on the Padres roster for their home opener against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. Vasquez was optioned to Triple-A El Paso and will begin his 2024 campaign in the minor leagues.

Key pitcher from Padres-Yankees Juan Soto trade will begin season in minor leagues

Vasquez was in the mix for a spot in the Padres starting rotation throughout spring training. But once the Friars swung the deal with the White Sox to bring Cease into the fold, San Diego had to make a choice.

With Vasquez now set to pitch for the Chihuahuas, the Padres rotation should be set. King will part of the equation along with the two pitchers who started in the Seoul Series, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove. Cease will get the ball every fifth day, but the surprise name on the list of San Diego starters is Matt Waldron.

The 27-year-old put up terrific numbers this spring. In four Cactus League games, including two starts, Waldron owned a 1.35 ERA while keeping the base paths clear. The right-hander didn't walk a single batter all spring or give up a single home run.

Vasquez, though a much better strikeout artist than Waldon, struggled to keep free runners off the bases. Vasquez walked over 16% of the batters he faced this spring and posted a 5.91 ERA and 8.61 FIP.

Though Vasquez will start the season in the minors, Pads fans shouldn't expect to him spend all year in El Paso. Vasquez, along with Brito, will likely be given several starts this year and could be part of the Friars rotation by the end of the season.

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