The Padres bullpen has been a disappointment in 2019. Coming off of a 2018 season where Fangraphs rated the Padres bullpen second behind the Yankees in WAR, the Padres bullpen is currently 18th on Fangraphs bullpen WAR ratings this season.
What’s more is that Craig Stammen has not been his usual self throughout 2019. Accumulating a -0.4 WAR, according to Fangraphs, Stammen’s ERA has spiked to 4.12 while his susceptibility to the long ball has drastically increased.
Therefore, adding another reliable arm to stabilize this bullpen, while bridging the gap to Yates, who has the highest WAR of any reliever in baseball, would undoubtedly strengthen this Padres team for a postseason run.
Felipe Vazquez, who’s nickname is fittingly ‘Nightmare’, would come with a high price tag due to his dominant stuff and control until 2024. With a 98.1 average fastball velocity and command of 3 different types of breaking pitches, Vazquez would be the ideal set-up man for Yates for the remainder of the season. Sure, Vazquez would come at a high price, but he is exactly what the Padres need – a proven, controllable reliever with unhittable stuff.
However, the competition for Vazquez this offseason will undoubtedly be fierce, as postseason contenders such as the Dodgers, Braves, and Phillies are all seeking bullpen help. Consequently, the Padres may have to find some under-the-radar relief help.
Acquiring David Hernandez from the Reds or Sam Dyson from the Giants could prove sufficient. Hernandez, who Padres fans may be familiar with due to his extensive time in Arizona, is putting together his best major league season at 36-years-old. With a 1.2 WAR and 11.29 K/9, the impending free agent would be a much more cost-effective option in comparison to Vazquez.
Dyson is another under-the-radar name who could be on the move. In the shadow of Giants’ closer Will Smith, the one-time failed closer for the Texas Rangers has rediscovered himself in a Giants uniform. Not only has Dyson has compiled a 2.48 ERA, but the right-hander has been one of the best pitchers in inducing weak contact, according to baseball savant. And with control through 2020, Dyson would be an asset useful for the Padres in their playoff pursuits next season.
Overall, the Padres have a few pitching holes to fill if San Diego wants to consider themselves true postseason contenders. And with the July 31st trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Padres won’t truly be ‘all in’ unless they start adding some pitching in the coming weeks.