The San Diego Padres have decided that they are going to let Kazuhisa Makita figure out his problems in the minor leagues, as they have sent him and shortstop Javier Guerra down to Triple-A El Paso. In response, they have called up left-handed reliever Matt Strahm from Double-A San Antonio.
Also, Bryan Mitchell, it seems, has lost his role in the starting rotation as he has been moved to the bullpen. Jordan Lyles will make his scheduled start on Thursday.
The once intriguing Makita was handed a bullpen spot thanks to his funky delivery, but the Japanese reliever struggled after coming to the United States. He sported an ugly 6.75 ERA and a WHIP of 1.39, while he walked more batters in 16 innings pitched (seven) than he did in 62.2 innings as a Saitama Seibu Lion (five). While his FIP was a bit more kind to him at 4.97, he wasn’t helped by allowing left-handed batters to hit .346 off of him.
Makita will be sent down to El Paso to hopefully help him with his woes as he still shows good promise due to the 17 strikeouts he has compiled in his brief stay in the Majors. The Padres still have a solid bullpen remaining in his wake, but there were simply too many right-handed relievers in the bullpen. Adam Cimber has a similar submarine delivery to Makita and has been much more reliable on the season, pitching to a 3.05 ERA in 20.2 innings.
Guerra was the 26th man on the roster for the Monterrey Series and did not receive a start. He did, however, receive two at-bats in the series, but struck out both times. His numbers at Triple-A are respectable as he carries a .244/.296/.511 batting line and has 11 extra base hits on the year. That accounts for half of his total hits with five doubles, three triples, and three home runs. Once thought to be the shortstop of the future, Guerra’s stock has deflated, but he will most likely be called back up in the case of an injury or when the rosters expand in January.
He spent time in San Antonio gaining strength after his knee surgery, but his rehab assignment was coming up and the Padres either had the choice of optioning him or recalling him from his injury. The Padres chose the latter option, so Strahm will be added as a left-handed reliever.
This will help accommodate a bullpen that consisted of only two left-handed pitchers, one being closer Brad Hand and the other being long reliever Robbie Erlin. Strahm was impressive, pitching to the tune of a 2.51 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP while striking out 22 batters and walking only four. He tossed 14.1 innings while throwing two short starts.
Kazuhisa Makita optioned to Triple-A El Paso. LHP Matt Strahm is up from the 10-day DL.
Also, Infielder Javier Guerra has been returned to @epchihuahuas
— Jeff Sanders (@sdutSanders) May 7, 2018
It has already been decided that Strahm will be utilized as a relief pitcher. The third-best prospect in the Kansas City Royals’ farm system in 2016, Strahm was initially brought up as a starting pitcher before being converted into a relief pitcher. He made his debut in 2016 and was going to be a bullpen piece for the Royals in 2017 before surgery for a torn patellar tendon wiped out his season. He was traded alongside Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz to the Padres in July 2017 for a package of Trevor Cahill, Brandon Mauer, and Ryan Buchter.
The bullpen has been shuffled, but more moves may be on the way. Another poor outing, this time in Monterrey, has cost Mitchell his job as a starting pitcher, as he has been sent to the bullpen to serve as a long reliever. Padres fans were quick to point out that Walker Lockett was held out of his Triple-A start, a similar tactic used by the Padres before bringing up Eric Lauer. For now, Jordan Lyles will be the next man up to replace Mitchell, but it is unknown how long he will remain the starter. Look for Lockett or another Padres pitching prospect to be called up to The Show in the near future.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) May 7, 2018