A look at the San Diego Padres’ taxi squad for the 2020 season.
The 2020 MLB season presents many new rules to help accommodate for the shortened year.
One of these rules is bringing a “Taxi Squad” to travel plans.
This consists of three players that travel with the team to away games, and when at home, they practice at the Alternative site. One of the players is required to be a catcher, and the other two are up to the manager’s discretion. The players on the Taxi Squad must be selected from the teams’ 60-man player pool. This allows organizations to easily bring up players to the away stadium in case of an injury or a positive COVID test.
The Taxi Squad can change for each road series based on what Manager Jayce Tingler feels is necessary. The first-ever Padres Taxi Squad will consist of Luis Torrens, Daniel Camarena, and Jared Eickhoff.
Luis Torrens slots in as the mandatory catcher for the Padres.
In 2016, the Reds picked him up in the Rule 5 draft only to trade him to the Padres the same day. He greatly struggled in 2017 in part because he had to stay on the big league roster the full year. Last year in Double-A ball, he turned out his best year at the plate with 15 HR, a .200 ISO, and a whopping 142 wRC+. With the expanded rosters to start the season, he had a chance to earn a spot. Torrens, Luis Campusano, and Webster Rivas are still working for a potential call up as no catcher has recorded a hit in the first four games of Padres baseball.
Daniel Camarena will serve as a lefty starter arm if a spot opens for him. The Padres signed him to a minor league deal this offseason. Overall, Camarena has struggled to pitch at the Triple-A level. Last year he posted a 6.27 ERA in 103.1 innings pitched. His spot on the taxi squad serves more as an emergency innings eater. Top prospects such as MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño, or Ryan Weathers have a better chance of earning an actual role on the roster. Right now, they are better-served training at the alternate site where they can improve while not worrying about travel precautions.
Jared Eickhoff fills in the role of righty starting pitcher should the need arise. Another offseason signing, Eickhoff has experience pitching in the big leagues. Last season he put up a 5.71 ERA in 58.1 innings for the Phillies. He does have a chance at being better as he put up a 3.0 fWAR season in 2016 but has failed to find that form since then. Like Camarena, Eickhoff is likely on the Taxi Squad to eat innings should an injury or positive COVID test appear while on the road.