Padres Editorial: Six Man Rotation Coming to San Diego?

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Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

The New York Mets recently wrapped up their series against the San Diego Padres by adding a sixth man to their rotation (Dillon Gee).

Their decision has been met (no pun intended) with a little bit of controversy and debate about whether having six in a rotation is a good option for certain teams.

Believe it or not, the Padres are about to be in a similar situation as the Mets are currently in (with 6 viable MLB starters) as Brandon Morrow is set to return next week.

Could the Padres decide to follow the Mets and add another starter to their rotation? Bud Black was asked about it earlier this week by the San Diego Union Tribune. He kind of dodged the question, which isn’t surprising, saying:

“I won’t say we won’t talk about it, but we’ll see if at that point we feel as though we have six quality major league pitchers.”

That tells me that even though the coaching staff might have thought about going to a six man rotation, it isn’t likely to happen.

What will the Padres do with their rotation once Brandon Morrow comes back? Well..

Right now, the rotation appears as so (in order):

James Shields

Tyson Ross

Odrisamer Despaigne

Andrew Cashner

Ian Kennedy

The obvious, traditional candidate that everyone is expecting Morrow to replace is Despaigne. Yes, Despaigne (3-3 with a 4.56 ERA) has been better than Ian Kennedy (3-5 with a 6.60 ERA). However, OD doesn’t quite have the track record that Kennedy does. Kennedy’s last outing (2 ER in 6 IP) provides some optimism that he can get on track and start pitching like the man who had a 3.63 ERA last year in 201 innings last year.

Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

But could the Padres turn to a six man rotation?

Six man rotations are put in place for a few reasons:

First off, they are meant to reduce the workload of starting pitchers. If a six man rotation was introduced and put in place for an entire season, each starter would work about 30-50 innings less than they would in a traditional 5-man.

Secondly, a reduced workload means less injuries. Although there isn’t any statistical data to back it up, the logical idea is that pitchers throwing less innings will prevent arm injuries, injuries that have spiked in recent years.

Third, you just have too many decent pitchers and want to start all of them. This is where the Padres would be if they wanted to instill a six man rotation: They would apparently have enough confidence in all of their starters.

Finally, it could perhaps allow starting pitchers to be stronger in the postseason because they would end up logging less innings in the regular season.

The Mets clearly fit in the line of these reasons. They have young pitching (Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard), an ace coming off an injury (Matt Harvey), and veterans (Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee). By instituting this rotation, the Mets are hoping to limit the workload of their young stud pitchers and prevent injuries. They also think that these six guys can give them a chance to win every single day they pitch.

Mandatory Credit: NY Daily News

Do the Padres fit that bill as well? I don’t think they do. Here’s why:

The inconsistency of the starting pitching is still an issue. Despaigne has had a great last couple outings, but those outings have been against teams that he hasn’t faced in his career. Statistically, OD pitches well when he sees a team for the first time. After that, however, he starts getting hit. Being 1 game under .500, they can’t afford to wait an extra day for a James Shields or Tyson Ross to take the hill. This team is meant to win now and doesn’t have any rookie arms that need to be protected or preserved.

The Padres starters have constantly shown a desire to all work over 200 innings this year. It’s not like their top guys are injury prone. We all know Shields has shown that he is a 200+ innings guy. Tyson Ross has been able to remain healthy and so has Andrew Cashner. At the start of the season, the staff’s goal was for each pitcher to throw over 200 innings. They have three that will come close at this point, those being Shields, Ross, and Cashner.

Going to a six man rotation would also force pitchers to change their routines and sit around an extra day. That doesn’t sound like a major issue, however if someone like James Shields would have to change his routine after being successful with it for a long period of time, who knows what kind of effect it might have.

Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

The salaries also come into effect. If you are paying James Shields $76 million for 4 years, don’t you want to get as much out of him as possible? The same thought process goes for Ian Kennedy (who is a free agent after this year), Tyson Ross, and Andrew Cashner (who will be a free agent in 2016). With the money these guys make, you gotta ride them out.

The Padres also are lacking a long reliever out of the pen, one that will probably be Despaigne when Morrow returns. The inability of having someone in the pen to throw 3, 4, or even 5 solid innings and tally up 50-80 pitches (like Tim Stauffer was for a number of years) has actually hurt the Padres this year. I can think of a few games where the Padres offense might have brought them back if they had a guy who could give them 4 innings of shutout or 1 run ball out of the pen.

The six man rotation isn’t a bad idea for any means and I can completely see why the Mets have decided to take that path. However, the Padres, for a numerous amount of reasons, are different than the Mets and definitely shouldn’t go to a six man rotation. I’m about 99% sure that we’ll see a 5 man rotation for the rest of the year.

Go Padres!


1 thought on “Padres Editorial: Six Man Rotation Coming to San Diego?

  1. not going to happen, not with Buddy managing..maybe, just maybe late in season they could insert OD in place of Cash a few times or maybe even in Ross place, but i cannot see it mora than twice late in september…

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