The San Diego Padres bullpen competition got at least a little more clear on Easter morning.
Rule 5 pitcher Blake Smith has cleared waivers. The Padres are returning him to the White Sox.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) March 27, 2016
After being selected by the Padres in the Rule 5 Draft in December, Blake Smith was given the chance by the Padres to make the bullpen out of Spring Training. Smith finished with 7 2/3 Spring Training innings with the Padres, in which he gave up 12 hits and five earned runs. Among the four rule five picks the Padres made, Smith was in tough competition for precious few roster spots with other rule five picks Luis Perdomo and Josh Martin.
Josh Martin will now head back to Chicago where he will likely begin the season in Triple A for the White Sox. The right hander split time between Double-A and Triple-A last season between the Dodgers and White Sox organizations. With the White Sox Triple-A affiliate, Smith appeared in 24 games, throwing 30 innings and finishing the season with a 3.30 ERA and 2.29 FIP. If he continues to improve at the minor league level, he could see some playing time in the White Sox bullpen at some point in 2016.
With the release of Casey Janssen earlier in the week, and the move of Martin back to the White Sox today, the Padres now have a much clearer bullpen picture. It appears Fernando Rodney has locked down the closing role, while Brandon Maurer will likely operate out of the setup role now that he is back in the bullpen. That leaves Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush, Drew Pomeranz, Carlos Villanueva, Jon Edwards, Josh Martin, and Buddy Baumann fighting what appears to be five available spots.
With the regular season just one week away, decisions will come fast and heavy this week. Stay tuned to East Village Times for all the latest roster moves and Padre news.