With full teams in camp, and games starting this week, the offseason has more or less come to an end. Obviously some players are still looking for jobs, most notably Tim Lincecum, Austin Jackson and several others, but even so, a majority of the heavy lifting has been completed.
Now that games are just around the corner, it is a better time than ever to evaluate the Padres moves this winter. This winter was certainly a busy one for the Padres. It clearly wasn’t as busy as the frenzy that was last offseason, nevertheless, the Padres did make several big moves, as well as plenty of small moves. For the purposes of this discussion, the focus will be on those smaller moves, specifically the minor league signings.
While minor league signings are fairly common around the league, the Padres seemed to take it to a whole new level this offseason. While there only a few “notable” minor league signings, the Padres made plenty of smaller signings that could pay dividends for the team. For a complete list of those signings, view the table below.
San Diego Padres Minor League Signings
RHP Grant Zawadski
RHP Casey Janssen, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Evan Powell
LHP Elier Sanchez
P Dauris Valdez
LF Skip Schumaker, with invite to Spring Training
LHP Scott Snodgress
2B Nick Noonan, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Trey McNutt
RHP Seth Rosin
C Hunter Redman
2B Jemile Weeks, with invite to Spring Training
1B Adam Rosales, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Derek Eitel
C Miguel Del Castillo
LF D’Arby Myers
RHP Jose Dominguez, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Carlos Pimentel, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Fabio Castillo
RHP Brandon Morrow, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Adam Lopez
LHP Ryan Buchter
C Rocky Gale, with invite to Spring Training
LHP Frank Garces, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Philip Humber, with invite to Spring Training
3B Ryan Schimpf, with invite to Spring Training
1B Nick Evans
RHP Luis Diaz, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Daniel McCutchen, with invite to Spring Training
RHP Johnny Hellweg, with invite to Spring Training
P Aaron Lezama
RHP Martires Arias, with invite to Spring Training
LHP Ramon Benjamin
C Erik Kratz, with invite to Spring Training
OF Alam Martinez
So obviously the Padres were busy this offseason. In total, they signed 35 players to minor league contracts, with 17 of those contracts coming with Spring Training invites. While at least half of these players are looked at as just organizational depth or filler, there are several intriguing names in the list that could make an impact for the Padres either in 2016, or further down the line. Those players will be profiled more in depth below.
2016 Roster Possibilities
Of all the Padres minor league additions from this offseason, Skip Schumaker may be the likeliest candidate to make the team out of Spring Training. Schumaker has done well in a utility role over the last several seasons, and would fit that role for the Padres well. His versatility as both an outfielder and infielder would give the team options that other players could not.
The most recent of the Padres minor league additions mentioned here, Casey Janssen provides yet another possibility out of the bullpen. Janssen struggled last year with the Washington Nationals, but he still could provide a strong veteran presence in what is looking to be a very young Padres bullpen. Add to that his closing experience, and Janssen could be a great fit with Fernando Rodney in the back of the bullpen.
Next up is the younger brother of Rickie Weeks, Jemile Weeks. Weeks has only seen sporadic playing time over the last two or three seasons, profiling as a below replacement level player. Even so, a new home in San Diego may do wonders for him and he could prove himself out of Spring Training. The likelier scenario is Weeks ending up in the minor leagues as depth should a need in the majors arise at any point.
The ultra versatile Adam Rosales is yet another infielder that the Padres signed this offseason. While Rosales has struggled offensively throughout his career, his versatility in the field could earn him a spot on the team. His ability to play nearly every defensive position would give the Padres a lot of options should he make the 25-man roster. It really all depends on how he performs offensively and what other potential options show in Spring Training.
Last, but certainly not least, is 2015 Padre Brandon Morrow. After earning a job out of Spring Training last season, Morrow excelled the first month of the season before missing the remainder of the year with injury. Rather than sign a major league deal elsewhere, Morrow signed a minor league deal to return to San Diego, as he looks to prove himself once again and earn the #5 rotation spot in Spring Training for a second year in a row. If he is truly healthy, he should have no problem filling that role.
Of all the Padres minor league signings this offseason, the five players listed above likely have the best chances of making the team. It remains to be seen how many of these guys make the team, if any do at all, but the Padres certainly have options. Given the sheer number of players invited to Spring Training, this year should be quite a bit of fun to watch. The 2016 San Diego Padres may not be a playoff contender, but there are still quite a few players to be excited about.