— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) January 12, 2016
The San Diego Padres have announced that Brandon Maurer will get an opportunity to start this spring. He pitched entirely out of the bullpen last year for the Padres and was mostly successful in his duties.
The Padres acquired Maurer in last seasons rebuilding project. He was dealt by Seattle Mariners to the Padres for outfielder Seth Smith. The left-handed hitting Smith was not needed after the team acquired Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers in the winter.
Brandon Maurer as a starting pitcher has been attempted before. The Mariners transitioned him into a starting pitcher in 2013 to mixed reviews. Ultimately Maurer was not successful recording a 5.58 ERA in his two seasons as a Mariner. The Padres immediately put Maurer in the pen and he flourished in the role last season going 7-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 53 games. He was at times last season the Padres best relief pitcher.
A.J. Preller indicated that the right handed pitcher wanted to start and that the team will give him the chance. It comes as kind of a surprise as the team needs relief help. If Maurer goes into the rotation, the Padres will have lost their top three bullpen arms from last season. As Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit were both dealt for prospects this winter.
The fact this news was released is interesting in several fronts. The Padres currently have James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner as locks for the starting staff. They also have Odrisamer Despaigne, Colin Rea, Robbie Erlin, Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Morrow as candidates for the fourth and fifth spot. There are tons of quality middle tier starting pitchers available out there too. Tim Lincecum, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Doug Fister, etc. You would figure the Padres could be players in one of them if the price is right… so… where are all these starting pitchers going to pitch?
Does the fact the team is looking to transition Maurer into the rotation mean a starting pitcher will be dealt? It is no secret that the team is exploring every and any option. Losing Maurer out of the bullpen weakens a group that is already shaky at best. Stay tuned Padres fans, I believe we are on the verge of a transaction storm. A.J. Preller is surely about to make a flurry of deals. Anything can happen.