San Diego Padres fans are all asking the same question. Where is Kevin Quackenbush? Did we trade him in the off-season? Is he hurt? Well the answer is quite simple. With the addition of Craig Kimbrel on the day before the Padres first game, Quackenbush was deemed expendable and sent to Triple-A El Paso.
With the recent struggles of Nick Vincent and Shawn Kelley, the time is probably now to make a change. Vincent was already sent down to in favor of Brandon Maurer, who also was a surprise cut after the Kimbrel trade. Maurer has been decent so far in his two appearances for the Padres. Nick Vincent was just the victim of two bad appearances to start the season. At some point I would imagine he will be back on the major league roster.
That brings me to Shawn Kelley who was acquired in December for minor league pitcher Johnny Barbato. Kelley is in the last year of his contract and is scheduled to make $2.835 million dollars this season. Wow, that’s a huge sum for a relief pitcher. This deal could easily be Preller’s worse move as the Padres GM to date. Kelley is looking very average and with his major league tenure, he cannot be sent down to the minors without clearing waivers.
Kevin Quackenbush had a very solid year last year and even served as the teams closer in September when Joaquin Benoit was out with shoulder issues. Quackenbush pitched in 54 innings and recorded six saves for the Padres. He also struck out 56 batters and had a 2.48 ERA and a 1.104 WHIP. Very solid numbers for a 25-year old rookie. He should only get better with more experience too.
I was extremely surprised Kevin Quackenbush didn’t make the Padres 25 man roster. He has already proven all he can in the minor leagues. His minor league numbers are ridiculous. His ERA in his last three minor league seasons 0.64, 1.18, 1.66. That is in 175.2 innings and 155 games. In that span Quackenbush recorded 68 saves and struck out an impressive 241 batters. Those are numbers you cannot ignore.
He has completely torn up the minor leagues, why not give someone like that a regular job? He would be a fantastic 7th or 8th inning guy. To have the trio of Kimbrel, Benoit and Quackenbush coming out of your bullpen is a great thing. Teams will not want to face that trio. Get the kid up here and give him the ball.
So far in Triple-A El Paso this season Kevin Quackenbush had pitched in two games. He has recorded one save and has yet to allow a run. In his two inning pitched he has given up only one hit and struck out one batter. Quack is pitching well, I think it is time to make a move and bring him up. Every game counts and the Padres cannot continually give away games because the bullpen is imploding.
A.J. Preller is surely working his tail off. The Padres makeover is not complete. There are reports he is actively looking for a shortstop upgrade and he will surely use the bullpen depth as bait. Jedd Gyorko and Joaquin Benoit are probably the most likely trade candidates, but in the world of Preller, anything goes. Stay tuned Padres fans, the season is just starting out. Its gonna be a wild and crazy ride, I can feel it in my bones.