Padres Making Moves to Boost Their Bullpen


Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres have been slow to make moves during the offseason, but they have finally stirred the flames of the Hot Stove.

Jeff Passan tweeted out that the Padres are the favorites to sign 33-year-old Japanese submarine pitcher Kazuhisa Makita and that a report from Japan states he is on his way to San Diego for a physical, while John Heyman tweets out that the Padres have resigned reliever Craig Stammen to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.

Both would likely take a spot in a Padres’ bullpen that is occupied by Brad Hand, Kirby Yates, Phil Maton, and Jose Torres. With Carter Capps coming off of a thoracic outlet procedure, these two pitchers would undoubtedly see time with the major league club.

The Padres signed Stammen to a minor league deal before the previous season, and while he endured a rough stretch in April, he bounced back to have a great season which saw him throw 80.1 innings of ball, while collecting a 3.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Stammen was a workhorse for the bullpen and was heavily relied upon by manager Andy Green as he was fifth in the majors in the amount of innings he pitched.

Stammen was able to keep his H/9 rating to a 7.6 while keeping an 8.3 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9 by striking out 74 batters while walking 28. However, his FIP was not as generous as he carried a 4.38 FIP, a 1.24 difference from his ERA, and his HR/9 mark was his highest since 2009 with a 1.3 number. He was still a solid bullpen piece for San Diego and had a solid bounce back season.

Heyman tweeted out the financial side of the deal, with Stammen taking home $2.25M in 2018 and $2.25M in 2019, and can earn up to $1 million each year in incentives based on games. This a good deal for both sides, as the Padres reinforce their bullpen with a veteran pitcher, and Stammen is able to reward himself for his bounce back effort and stay in America’s Finest City.


The news on Makita is certainly worth noticing, as the Padres have been active in Japan even after losing out on his countryman, Shohei Ohtani. Makita is certainly no slouch, as the Seibu Lion was the Pacific League Rookie of the Year in 2011 and, in 923.1 career innings, carries a very pretty 2.83 ERA. The former starter was just as effective after a move to the bullpen in 2016, posting a 1.90 ERA in nearly 150 innings. His 2017 season was just as impressive, as he pitched to a 2.30 ERA along with a 1.02 WHIP in 62.2 innings.

He has done all of this despite the fact that he carries very low strikeout numbers, as his 5.0 K/9 ratio was his highest since 2012 and matches his career K/9 ratio of 5.0. Of course, he balances this out by posting minuscule walk ratios, as he walked five batters against 35 strikeouts to earn a 0.7 BB/9, a career low, while also careering a career 2.0 BB/9 ratio. His approach to pitching is not that different from current Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler, whose submarine-style pitching generates a lot of ground balls while limiting hard contact.

San Diego has always had great bullpens, and this year may not be all that different. With the addition of Stammen and the potential signing of Makita, the Padres starters may not have to put in many innings of work knowing that they have a strong bullpen backing them up.

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Jason Freund
I am currently attending San Diego State University while working on achieving a major in journalism. At SDSU, I write for The Daily Aztec while also hosting the sports radio show "Picked Off", for KCR Radio. A loyal fan of San Diego sports, I hope to bring content that you will enjoy reading.

8 thoughts on “Padres Making Moves to Boost Their Bullpen

    1. Well, the did trade one, BUT, in the words of Christ Farley, they got, “Jack SQUAT.” back from the Blue Jays. Maybe it is because there were too have of expectations, or Padre fans put too much value on Solarte, but whatever his actual value, AJ Preller again gave up far too much value in turn for too little value. That is disturbing. ******Furthermore, this error was precipitated by other errors, like trading for (ironically) Chase Headley, which created an EVEN BIGGER log jam in the infield, which gave him even less leverage in a trade; then he signed two middling-at-best relievers, which gave him EVEN LESS leverage to make a deal (he HAD to move someone), and so a team took advantage of him. Do you remember when fans thought the Padres could get something of value for Solarte? That was a real possibility, but not with AJ at the helm. I do think he did well in signing and drafting some of the talent over a year ago, but ever since then (and before then in 2015) he has been a debacle-disseminator. While they have not been huge disasters, they slowly add up, and do not instill confidence. When will the Preller worshipers be more objective and admit these string of blunders?

      1. Tommy T-ool, go waste your time on another site. Nobody wants you here. We will trade Headley for a decent prospect and prob around 6-7 mil. That means we got Mitchell for 6 mil for 4 years.
        2nd, Solarte had a bad year at the plate and D, so his value was minimal. I doing t you were w Preller every day listening in in his calls finding out the best offer we got. This Oliveres kid, could be the next Tatis, or Esteury Ruiz. Maybe you’ve heard of them?

        1. I want him here, lots of people do. But no one wants childishness. If you have to resort to that then it is you that is not wanted.

    1. Lockett, Gale or Szczur would be my guess. Hand in a trade with one of the five 2nd/3rd baseman on the roster?

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