Padres Rumors: Concerning stat suggests interest in Garrett Crochet is misplaced

This could be a problem.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet
Chicago White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres are no stranger to blockbuster deals at the MLB trade deadline. Rumors have already surfaced about a potential trade between the Padres and Chicago White Sox involving left-handed starter Garrett Crochet.

Padres President of Baseball Operations AJ Preller is said to be intrigued by the possible addition of Crochet, and given the Friars' injuries of late, most Pads fans would love to see San Diego go after a starter before July 30.

Crochet is certainly off to hot start in 2024. The former first-round pick has come into his own this season. Crochet is 6-6 with a 3.25 ERA and is in the 90th percentile and higher in a number of key advanced metrics. The lefty's strikeout rate, expected batting average, and whiff rate are among the best in the game today.

Padres Rumors: Could Garrett Crochet's innings count be a concern?

But one key stat attached to Crochet's résumé should be sending up warning signals. While the former University of Tennessee Volunteer has an electric fastball and is likely headed for his first All-Star appearance this season, Crochet has already logged a career-high 88.2 innings pitched.

That should be alarming for Preller and the Padres front office. Crochet is a reliever-turned-starter, with all 16 of his major league starts coming this season. One has to question how many more innings Crochet has left this season.

While Crochet could follow the paths of players like Michael Lorenzen and Reynaldo Lopez who've gone from the bullpen into the starting rotation, assuming that the southpaw will be able to push much past 100 innings of work this season is certainly a gamble.

Padres Rumors: Does San Diego view Garrett Crochet as a starter or reliever?

The highest number of innings pitched that Crochet ever recorded in his career prior to this season was the 65 as a sophomore in college. Crochet was drafted in 2020, and with the minor league season cancelled due to the coronavirus, the White Sox decided to forgo the traditional route of development and added the No. 11 overall pick to the active roster.

Now, if Preller's goal is strike while the iron is hot and move Crochet into a relief role for the remainder of the 2024 season, that could work. The Padres could then put a plan in place this offseason to transform Crochet into a full-time starter heading into next season. Crochet will not reach free agency until after the 2026 season.

But if Preller has every intention to land the White Sox's starter in a big-time trade and insert him into the starting rotation, the Padres' top executive could be playing with fire. Crochet missed the entire 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Drastically increasing the workload on that left arm after throwing in just 12 games a year ago seems unwise, so there's a need to proceed with caution here.

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