Looking at some potential roster changes to the San Diego Padres for the NLDS.
The San Diego Padres completed the series comeback on Friday night to advance to the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The team can make roster moves between games and submit a new 28-man roster at Tuesday morning’s deadline.
Let’s take a look at players that could make the roster that weren’t on it last series, and the players that might make way for them.
Rumors are running rampant about the availability and health of right-handed pitcher Dinelson Lamet. All we know at this point is that the Padres are keeping quiet to avoid tipping off the Dodgers. If Lamet is ready at any point this series, he’ll be on the roster. The team desperately needs him after poor performances from the starters last series. A spot on the roster doesn’t guarantee a Game 1 start, but it will signal some sort of usage in the series.
Although not rumored to be as close to returning as Lamet, Mike Clevinger finds himself in the same situation. Even if he were only projected to be ready for Game 5, Clevinger would make the roster. The right-hander was seen throwing vigorously on Sunday as he continues to possibly return to form.
Even if Lamet and Clevinger make the NLDS roster, the Padres will take a look at adding top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore. Reports from the alternate site indicate that Gore has fixed his mechanical issues and is ready for a debut. The Padres are obviously need of effective starting pitching, but an MLB debut in the postseason against the Dodgers would be asking a lot from the 21-year-old. Gore would also have to be added to the 40-man roster, and a player such as Abraham Almonte would need to be released to make room.
It’s no surprise that after relievers covered over 20 of the 27 innings of work last series, the Padres’ main additions for the NLDS will likely be pitchers. San Diego may have been victorious over the St Louis Cardinals despite poor starting pitching, but that probably won’t be enough against the Dodgers, not by a long shot.
Let’s examine the players that may make way for the roster additions.
After being acquired at the Trade Deadline, Dan Altavilla pitched well for the Padres in the regular season and made the initial postseason roster. Despite these good performances and in spite of the Padres needing all the pitchers they had against the Cardinals, Altavilla was not used at all in the Wild Card Series. There has been no reported injury, but Manager Jayce Tingler did not use him. His role in the bullpen moving forward is unclear.
Left fielder Tommy Pham would typically be a lock for the roster and the starting lineup. The only thing that could keep him off the roster is his wrist. In his last at-bat of the series, Pham was noticeably in pain and even lost his bat on a swing. The ironman outfielder is likely going to power through the pain as he has in the past, but another flare-up may prompt the Padres to keep him off the roster in favor of someone more healthy.
Another player that went unused against the Cardinals was Luis Campusano. The third catcher was likely only there to pinch-hit if needed. His roster spot may be safe if Pham is left off the roster, as they are both right-handed.
Another player with injury questions is Matt Strahm. A knee injury put him on the IL earlier in the season, and it appeared as if the injury is resurfacing. If the Padres’ doctors deem him a risk for a more significant injury, General Manager A.J. Preller may elect to let him rest and recover.
After one scoreless frame, the young right-hander could be left off the roster. His appearance ended well, but his command just wasn’t sharp, giving up one hit and one walk. The postseason experience will be invaluable moving forward, but another appearance may not be in the cards.
For the most part, the postseason roster will likely go unchanged. The real questions will come down to health for Lamet, Clevinger, Pham, and Strahm. Under normal circumstances, all four players would have a prominent role on the team, and losing even one of them would be a massive blow to San Diego’s chances of advancing. At full strength, the Padres match up well with the Dodgers. We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out how healthy the Padres are.