As we get closer to MLB Opening Day, clubs across the league are still trying to figure out which players will ultimately make their roster.
In the case of the Padres, many interesting and exciting events are currently taking place. With a plethora of young talent in camp this season, San Diego has had one of the most exhilarating spring training seasons in recent memory.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on with the Padres this week:
Jake Arrieta to the Padres?
The San Diego Padres shocked the world when they signed World Series champion Eric Hosmer this offseason, who was considered the prized free agent of this 2018 class. Could it be possible that they make a splash at potentially the best free agent left on the market? A recent report surfaced that the Padres were talking internally about the possibility of bringing in former Cubs ace, Jake Arrieta, if his price drops.
While this is highly unlikely, bringing Arrieta in on a one or two-year deal might not be a bad idea. Other than being one of the better pitchers of the last three years, Arrieta is a veteran that knows how to win and could be a mentor for the young pitchers the Padres are dependent on. Overpaying for Arrieta is a concern, but A.J. Preller and company will be wary of this and should hopefully avoid having a similar situation that occurred with James Shields in 2015. Nonetheless, keep your eyes open for what the Padres do in regards to Jake Arrieta.
Two young stars continue to shine:
Both Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. hope to make up the Padres’ middle infield of the future, and both are surely building a case for themselves in spring training thus far. This week, Tatis Jr. went 5-9 with 5 RBI, including a 4-4 showing against the Chicago White Sox and an opposite-field base hit against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Urias, on the other hand, was not as impressive as Tatis, going 1-5, but continued his abuse of pitchers across the league with his .444 batting average and 1.268 OPS. The Padres two top hitting prospects, Tatis Jr. and Urias, are knocking on the door and can not be held down much longer. Expect to see both of them at some point this season, with Urias coming up somewhere around mid-season and Tatis Jr. around September call-ups. The middle infield future of the Padres is surely in safe hands.
Tyson Ross as the fifth starter?
Padres manager Andy Green has been very open about the situation regarding the team’s pitching rotation. Both Clayton Richard and Bryan Mitchell are locks as rotational pieces, and Green has said that Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo have a “leg up” on others. Assuming all four of those are in the rotation come opening day, one spot remains unclaimed. If Matt Strahm was fully healthy, he would surely be the fifth guy in this young, talented rotation. However, the organization wants to take their time with Strahm and he should expect to be in a reliever role come Opening Day.
Chris Young has impressed, but given his age, the team would likely put Young in a bullpen spot over a rotational role. As of now, Tyson Ross appears to be their guy. Finally healthy, Andy Green has spoken about how Ross has looked like his former all-star self. On a team-friendly deal, the Padres have nothing to lose with throwing a veteran like Ross out there to eat innings for them, while hoping he can elevate his game to what it once was. In spring training thus far, Ross has been effective and has impressed both the club and its fans. As of now, Tyson Ross should be the Padres’ fifth starter come opening day.
Alex Dickerson injury:
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Alex Dickerson actually play baseball in a San Diego Padres uniform. For those who still remember him, it’s going to be a lot longer until we see the former Indiana product back on the field. This week, Dickerson was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his left elbow and is going to be out for an extended amount of time. Dickerson is mulling his options and is hopeful that Tommy John surgery will not be necessary. What once looked like a possible long-term piece, Dickerson has struggled to stay healthy and the Padres should move on from him. In 82 games with the club in 2016, Dickerson hit ten home runs while driving in 37 runs and posting a .257/.333/.455 batting line.
Diego works at Prep Baseball Report as an Area Scout in Illinois and Missouri. He graduated this spring with a Bachelor Degree in Communications and played four years of college baseball, logging nearly 50 innings of work in a relief role. Diego hopes to work in an MLB front office one day and has been a Padres fan since he was six years old.