Padres' latest roster move seems to create more questions than answers

The Padres roster looks a little different.
San Diego Padres catcher Brett Sullivan (29) celebrates
San Diego Padres catcher Brett Sullivan (29) celebrates / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Diego Padres experienced a roster shakeup this week. Graham Pauley, who was named to the Padres Opening Day roster, was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. San Diego also recalled catcher Brett Sullivan, who'd been absolutely crushing the ball down in the minor leagues. But do these changes bring about more questions than answers?

Pauley's big league career certainly didn't get off on the right foot. The 23-year-old was just 2-for-15 in seven games this season with a home run and three RBI, and endured an embarrassing strikeout this season. But sending Pauley to Triple-A is not what's raising the questions.

Sullivan is a catcher, which means manager Mike Shildt now has three backstops at his disposal. In addition to Sullivan, both Luis Campusano and Kyle Higashioka are on the active roster. This likely signals that Shildt will use Campusano as the Padres' DH on days when he's not behind the dish, but doesn't that job belong to Manny Machado?

Padres' latest roster move seems to create more questions than answers

Machado disclosed over the weekend that his elbow is still not 100%, meaning that a return to playing third base does not seem to be in the cards quite yet. Shildt is hopeful that Machado can return to the hot corner later this month. With Machado being limited, the Padres have rolled with a combination of Pauley, Tyler Wade, and Eguy Rosario playing third base.

Though Machado has been restricted to just hitting, he's not fared well through the first 14 games of the 2024 season. The six-time All-Star has two home runs and seven RBI, but is hitting just .204/.283/.370. Those are not the type of numbers Padres fans are used to seeing from one of the top-paid players in the sport.

With Machado struggling, perhaps Shildt will look to give the slugger a game off here and there as he continues to recover from his injury. With Sullivan on the roster, Campusano can act as the Padres' DH in place of Machado.

Pauley's struggles and Sullivan's early-season success (.477/.500/.722 at Triple-A El Paso) are probably the biggest reasons for the change. Pauley should get more everyday at-bats in Triple-A, which will surely help with his continued development. Defensively, however, Shildt might have a few hurdles to clear with three catchers on the roster.

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