With the trades of Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit the San Diego Padres have a need for a closer for the 2016 season. Brandon Maurer could fill that role, but a dark horse candidate is Jon Edwards who was acquired from the Texas Rangers late last season for Will Venable. He has closing experience in Triple-A and does have very filthy stuff when he is throwing under control.
Jon Edwards has had a long journey to reaching the Major Leagues. The former 14th round selection in 2006 from the St. Louis Cardinals spent four years in the Cardinals organization before being released at the end of the 2010 season. He spent the 2011 season with the San Angelo Colts and the Alpine Cowboys from the Independent League. He was out of professional baseball at the age of 23 after once having a promising pitching career.
Edwards did not give up on his dream and was signed by the Texas Rangers in late December of 2011. He spent the 2012 season in the Rangers Minor League system and went 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA between four different spots. He climbed all the way to Double-A Frisco and was once again on the right track.
His 2013 and 2014 season in the Rangers Minor League system was plagued with wildness as Edwards ERA and WHIP skyrocketed. In those two seasons Edwards threw 104 innings and struck out an impressive 129 batters, however he walked 71 and that resulted in an ERA of about 5.40 and a WHIP around 1.49. Control has always been his demise and Edwards was once again trending in the wrong direction.
The 2015 season was pivotal for the relief pitcher as his career was at a crossroads. Edwards responded well posting a 1.23 ERA and saving 23 games for the Rangers Triple-A team in Round Rock. In 36 innings last season for the Rangers Minor League team he struck out 51 while only walking 11 batters. This slash in his walk rate produced an all-star season for Edwards as he was named to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League All-Star team.
He was traded to the Padres for Venable in late August and many Padres fans wondered who he was. A.J. Preller knew exactly who Jon Edwards was and he must have had many conversations with this young man. Preller surely knows the moxie of this young man and if he believes he can close at the Major League level he will be given an opportunity.
The team needs some one to step up and the 2016 season could be very special for Edwards. If Darren Balsley can harness his delivery and get him to be more consistent with his delivery, he could very well be a dominant relief pitcher. Edwards has also already shown the characteristics necessary to be a successful closer. He had a great year last year closing in Triple-A and could really emerge in the Padres bullpen. Keep your eye on Edwards, he has been through a lot and you really have to pull for someone like him.