The same situation forced the trade of Rymer Liriano last week when the team officially signed Alexei Ramirez to be its starting shortstop for the 2016 season. A much-anticipated signing that was long over due.
The San Diego Padres have been linked to many potential free agents and there are a few quality free agents out there. Ian Desmond, Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo to name a few. The team could have some interest n signing a few players, but if they did they would need to make room first.
So whom on the current 40-man roster is in jeopardy of being traded or DFA’d if the team signs another free agent? There are some options and in particular there are seven players that are on that cusp. Some more than others.
Out of the seven players I have spotlighted, six of them are pitchers. The most obvious are the four rule-5 draft selections. Each carry a roster spot of the 40-man roster, and each have to remain on the major league roster for the whole 2016 season. That in itself makes each of them a risk. Though they will not be DFA’d before sring training starts.
The Padres surely aren’t going to keep all four, so it is likely one or two of the four selected players will have to be returned at some point before the season starts.
The power hitting outfielder is the only position player I have on my list. Alex Dickerson is also a candidate but I feel the Padres covet his left-handed bat and he still has minor league options left. Blash is a home run hitter as he hit 32 homers last season in 116 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He did that while batting .271 and driving in 81 runs. He struck out 123 times last year in 406 at bats but he did produce a .370 on base percentage last year. He walks a ton too, walking 59 times last season. In fact he owns a career .369 on base percentage in over 1,900 at bats in the minor leagues. Blash looks to be a butcher on the field as he owns a career .961 fielding percentage and made more errors (28) last season than outfield assist (26) earned. With his power potential he should be kept on the team unless he completely falls on his face during the spring. In January Blash was on hand with Padres prospects at SDSU meeting new skipper Andy Green. The Padres seem happy with him and look to develop the young slugger.
The 26-year-old relief pitcher has a decent chance making the team based on his track record of success in the minors. He owns a career 20-14 record in 139 games and 255 innings pitched. He has recorded nine saves in the minors and struck out an impressive 265 batters. In 2015 the big right hander went 8-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 44 games out of the bullpen. He struck out 80 batters in 67 innings pitched for the Indians Triple-A team and looks poised to be a reliable reliever in the major leagues.
This 28-year-old right handed pitcher from the Chicago White Sox has a very interesting past. He was at one time a very decent hitting prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He put away his bat full-time in 2013 but has 59 career minor league home runs and 256 RBI’s. He also holds a career minor league batting line of .264/.352/.457. Not at all shabby for someone who now throws fastballs for a living. Oh and what a fastball he has as Smith has struck out 137 batters in his 134 career minor league innings. He also owns a 5-13 record with a 4.03 ERA. He is very raw and needs an outstanding spring to make the team.
This 22-year-old right handed pitcher has excellent stuff but out of the three rule-5 pitchers, he has the least experience at the higher levels of the minor leagues. In fact Perdomo played at high A ball last year and hasn’t even reached Double-A yet. He does have a terrific arsenal and could be a decent major league option one day. The slightly built Perdomo has electric stuff going 6-12 last season in 22 starts, striking out 118 batters in 126 innings pitched. For his career he owns a 4.10 ERA and a 16-31 record in 66 games (61 of them starts) and 316 innings pitched.
This seven-year minor league pitcher got a major league deal from the Padres this winter despite not having pitched one inning in the show yet. He does have great numbers in his minor league career going 19-16 in 199 games (42 starts) with a 3.17 ERA. In those 460 innings out of the bullpen and starting rotation, Baumann has struck out 477 batters. He still has minor league options left, but the team seems set on allowing him to win a bullpen spot in the 2016 season. The seventh round pick for the Royals in the 2009 draft was 3-4 last season in 34 games. He recorded a 3.39 ERA and struck out 84 batters in 77 innings pitched. In 2015 verses left-handed batters Baumann held them to a .148/.225/.222 batting line. This lefty gives the Padres a great option out of the bullpen. He is probably not in jeopardy of being DFA’d simply because he is left-handed. He should make the team out of the spring.
Another left-handed pitcher that the Padres just acquired is the hard throwing southpaw Ryan Buchter. This former Dodger and Cubs prospect brings another solid left-handed option for the Padres in spring training. The 28-year-old was 2-0 last season with a 1.78 ERA in 43 games for the Dodgers and Cubs Triple-A affiliates. He also struck out 62 batters in 50 innings. If a roster sot is needed, Buchter could easily be a candidate. Baumann is probably ahead of him on the depth chart and another lefty Drew Pomeranz is virtually guaranteed a spot on the Padres 25-man roster. It will take an injury or unbelievable spring for Buchter to make the team out of the spring. He could be a factor down the line for the Padres if the choose to send him down for more conditioning.
This 28-year-old right handed pitcher is probably the most likely to DFA if the Padres need to open up a roster spot. He is not a young prospect by any means anymore and the Padres could fill his shoes rather easily if they had to. Campos has an ERA of 5.62 in his eight major league innings pitched. He has had two cups of coffee with the Padres in the past few seasons. Last year in Triple-A he was 2-0 with a 3.08 ERA and struck out 68 batters in 49 innings pitched for the El Paso Chihuahuas. In his four minor league seasons, Campos owns a 4.04 ERA and has nine saves in over 200 innings pitched. He has always been a strike out pitcher, striking out 286 in those 200 innings, however he has walked 110 batters in that time and struggles with his control. At the age of 28, he has frustrated the Padres pitching coaches and simply cannot command his pitches effectively enough to be a viable pitcher in the big leagues. If someone is DFA’d, Campos will probably be that man.