Could Venezuelan RHP Robert Suarez be an option for the San Diego Padres in the bullpen?
The San Diego Padres will need relief help for the 2022 season.
Mark Melancon led all of baseball in saves last year, but the veteran right-hander will likely not return to the Padres. The curveball specialist had a mutual option for the 2022 season at $5-million and chose not to come back at that cost. Melancon will probably get a multiple-year deal on the open market.
The two sides could still reunite, but it remains to be seen what the Padres will do.
Presently, the team does not have very good internal options at closer as Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranz, and Austin Adams all come with question marks. Pagan may have the most experience at the job, but he was very hittable last season for the Padres. Pomeranz has the best stuff but has struggled with injuries throughout his career and went down last year. Allen may have the swing and miss stuff to be dominant but is way too inconsistent for the job.
The Padres need help. They need a closer.
A.J. Preller and his staff constantly think outside the box, and Robert Suarez could be an interesting option. Suarez owns 79 saves in Japan, including 42 last year for the Hanshin Tigers. The 30-year-old has spent his entire career in the Japanese League, where he owns a 2.59 ERA in 330 career innings. Suarez throws strikes and gets batters out. It is important to note that Suarez underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017. His health is not an immediate concern, but he has battled elbow issues in the past.
For the 2021 season, Suarez walked a total of eight men in over 62 innings pitched. The year before, he allowed 19 free passes in 52.1 innings pitched for the Tigers. During his last two years with Hanshin, Suarez has allowed a total of two home runs, including zero last year. Batters have issues barreling up the baseball against this right-hander who has only gotten better with age.
According to a recent article from Yahoo Japan written by Sung Min Kim. Suarez and his representatives have a player option for the upcoming season. If Suarez were to decline it, the Venezuelan would become a free agent and would be able to sign wherever.
The Padres need help in the bullpen, and Suarez could be signed at a decent price.
Here is a look at the pitcher in action.
This last pitch in this game was recorded at 162 km/h, which is roughly 100 mph. Suarez throws hard, and that alone should translate in the major leagues. You combine that with his impeccable command, and you have an All-Star closer with dominating stuff.
The Padres will not be the only suitors for Suarez.
Teams from Japan are well aware of his value, and word is spreading in the States about Suarez. The clock is ticking. If Suarez declines his player option, there will be a feeding frenzy likely led by the San Diego Padres. Keep an eye out for it this winter.