Will Craig Stammen ever pitch for Padres again after injury?
While he won't end his career in Cooperstown, San Diego Padres relief pitcher Craig Stammen has managed to carve out a sterling 13-year career in the big leagues thanks to some nearly unrivaled consistency. Stammen has been a reliable, consistent presence in San Diego.
Stammen has pitched in 333 games during his six years with the Padres, posting a 3.36 ERA along the way. Even after a down year last season, the Padres expected the 39-year-old Stammen to get back on track and become a big part of a bullpen that has some depth issues.
The injury bug has not only prevented Stammen from getting on track, but it could prevent him from ever throwing another pitch in the major leagues. Stammen suffered a torn capsule in his throwing shoulder, and he seems to be very keenly aware of his baseball mortality. The baseball grim reaper may be sharpening his scythe.
Stammen has acknowledged that his "playing days are probably over" following this injury. This is such a heartbreaking way for a respected veteran arm like Stammen to go out, especially since he made his name in this sport as someone who was available to pitch and do his job game in and game out.
Padres pitcher Craig Stammen may retire
Stammen was expected to join a top-heavy bullpen led by closer Josh Hader and eighth-inning ace Robert Suarez. Those two are deadly, but the lack of depth between them and the starters presented a perfect opportunity for Stammen to show he can give this team the reliability it needs.
Stammen has never been in the spotlight in his career. Most of the early parts of his career were spent on bad Nationals teams, but his best seasons in Washington on contenders were still not given widespread acclaim. San Diego's constant circling of the drain before 2020 didn't help matters.
If the Padres end up making a run to the championship in the near future, it's a shame that Stammen won't be around to see it. His performance on bad Padres teams helped lay the foundation for where they are now.
Between Stammen getting hurt and Wil Myers signing with the Reds, the last vestiges of the old Padres are starting to flake away. A new era led by Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts is here, and the Padres will continue to march on in their pursuit of some silverware without the presence of Stammen.