Padres manager Jayce Tingler sees open competition in bullpen
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, Padres manager Jayce Tingler addressed the crowded bullpen room and roles for everyone.
It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that the Padres have an abundance of relievers heading into the 2021 season.
In fact, newly signed Mark Melancon and Keone Kela couldn’t be officially announced until a corresponding move was made on the 40-man roster.
Both players are expected to compete for the closer role. Still, manager Jayce Tingler added another wrinkle to the mix, indicating the bullpen — as a whole — would be an open competition.
“I do believe that we’ve got a lot of guys that have done it or are capable of doing it,” Tingler said on Wednesday. “I always think it’s good to have options and a ton of flexibility, and that’s what we have. We’re not committed to anything right now. We want to make sure — we have to check some things off the boxes – get into games and get going. We’ll have an open competition, but I do believe we have guys that are more than capable of doing it. Once we get to that point, and we’re closer to the regular season, that when we’re going to have those discussions on roles and things like that. I’ll say we’re incredibly open-minded. We’re not pot-committed to one-way or anything like that right now, and we’re going to stay extremely flexible.”
Last year was a prime example of how valuable a deep bullpen is to the team’s success. Very early on in the season, the Padres lost All-Star closer, Kirby Yates, against the Arizona Diamondbacks in what ended up being his final appearance in a San Diego uniform.
However, general manager A.J. Preller acquired Emilio Pagan and signed Drew Pomeranz to a healthy contract during the offseason, and both players ended up having larger roles than initially expected.
Of course, the Padres made an underrated move at the trade deadline, acquiring Trevor Rosenthal, who didn’t allow a run during the second half of the regular season.
Heading into the 2021 season, the Padres still have Pagan and Pomeranz through the 2023 season. Add in Craig Stammen, Dan Altavilla, Pierce Johnson, Tim Hill, Austin Adams, Michel Baez, Taylor Williams, and the versatile Matt Strahm; spots are limited in the bullpen. Expect Tingler and the Padres to get a good look at all players during the exhibition games, with the hope that the puzzle pieces fit before the regular-season opener against the Diamondbacks on April 1.
Padres writer/editor for East Village Times. LA Kings writer/editor for Hockey Royalty. IBWAA member.