The Padres made a flurry of moves over the offseason to bolster their rotation, leaving many wondering where Adrian Morejon and others fit in.
Had the Padres not upgraded their rotation in the manner they did over the offseason, Adrian Morejon was a good bet to see starts every five days this season.
As such, the additions of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove have muddied the waters – in a good way, of course – in terms of where some of the younger arms fit in the jigsaw puzzle that is the Padres pitching staff. Morejon will turn 22 at the end of the month, and he made nine appearances – including four starts – in the abbreviated 2020 season, posting a 4.66 ERA.
Similar to last season, manager Jayce Tingler will have his hands full deciding who fills what role. Of course, injuries could pave the way for someone like Morejon, MacKenzie Gore, or Ryan Weathers, but 100 percent healthy, the fact of the matter is there will be limited opportunities for those players. Despite that, Tingler has assured those players will get an opportunity should they continue to develop exponentially.
“It doesn’t really impact them because we always believe in those guys and their talents,” Tingler said. “When they’re right, and they’re progressing, and they’re pitching their A-game, and they’re doing that consistently, I don’t think anything is going to hold them back. As long as they continue to improve, I think there’s going to be real opportunity for those guys, and it could be in different roles. I think their timetable, honestly, is on them.”
With no minor league season in 2020, Gore is a safe bet to begin the year with the Double-A or Triple-A affiliates after having so much time between meaningful innings.
Weathers made his major league debut in one of the most high-pressure situations, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. There, the then 20-year-old tossed 1.1 innings, walking two batters, striking out one, and didn’t yield any runs or hits. For similar reasons as Gore, Weathers makes the most sense to begin the 2021 season in the minor leagues, but he’ll be one of the first ones called up in the event of an injury.
As for Morejon, outside of the previous three guys, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack round out the starting rotation, but perhaps Tingler envisions Morejon as a swingman in the bullpen, similar to how Garrett Richards was utilized in the latter half of the 2020 season.
Again, injuries could play a role, but it would seem that Morejon, Gore, and Weathers are all at least a year or two away from seeing anything close to a full-time role, given how the contracts in the rotation play out.