The San Diego Padres made an inevitable roster move by sending Cory Mazzoni and his 20.77 ERA back down to AAA El Paso. Mazzoni was acquired from the New York Mets for Alex Torres in the spring training. The 25-year old Mazzoni has excellent stuff, but has been extremely over matched at the big league level so far.
With Mazzoni being sent down the Padres made some what of a surprising move when journeyman infielder Bret Wallace was called up from El Paso. Wallace is 28 and has had a roller coaster of a ride in his professional career. He was a #1 draft pick (13th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. He was traded the next year to the Oakland Athletics with two other prospects for Matt Holliday.
Wallace was then traded a few months later to the Toronto Blue Jays for Michael Taylor. His last stop before reaching the Major Leagues was when the Blue Jays sent him to the Houston Astros for Anthony Gose in 2010. Wallace toured four different organizations before reaching the Major Leagues in late 2010 with the Astros.
Wallace was widely viewed as the Astros first baseman of the future, but he was unable to find consistency and stay in the lineup on a daily basis. After four seasons with the Astros, Wallace was released by the team in 2014. He totaled 29 career home runs and 102 RBI’s in his 971 at bats. A hitting line of .242/313/.391 was not horrible, but was less than average (production wise) in which you’d expect from a first baseman. In his years in Houston, Wallace would tear up AAA pitching and become average once he got to the show.
This season Wallace was hitting .305 with eight home runs and 37 RBI’s for the Chihuahuas. Wallace has played a lot of third base in the minors and has played solely there for El Paso. He has made 60 starts at the hot corner and has made a troubling 12 errors thus far. That is a fielding percentage of .908 which is absolutely horrible. His left-handed bat could provide useful as a pinch hitter, but having him play everyday over Will Middlebrooks or Yangervis Solarte would be an error. Wallace could play a little first, but his left-handed bat off the bench is what I believe the Padres covet most from him.
His tenure in a Padres uniform could be short. Wallace must take advantage of his limited opportunities because a player at that age has very few of them in the big leagues. Wallace has always had the potential, but that consistency is what often makes some players just great Minor Leaguers verses dependable Major Leaguers. His ability to play third base adds to his versatility but the Padres are loaded with players that can play that position. Besides Solarte and Middlebrooks, Cory Spangenberg and Yonder Alonso have had starts at third base. Wallace will most likely see his appearances off the bench as a pinch hitter. He must make the most of those limited opportunities to stick with the team.