Taking a look at some potential roster cuts for the San Diego Padres during the winter.
Now that A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres hired manager Jayce Tingler, the next item on the agenda is finalizing the 40-man roster.
The Padres currently have 51 players on the roster, and they have until five days after the World Series to trim the roster to 40 players. With only one impending free agent in Craig Stammen, Preller will be forced to cut or trade away ten players. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the players that could be released.
After having a down year, Kinsler is a name that has come up a lot as a potential roster cut. The infielder is 37 years old and coming off the worst statistical season of his career. His batting average was a measly .217 and seemed to have lost some range on defense. He is guaranteed $4 million for 2020, and he does bring a veteran presence and leadership to the clubhouse. Those are likely the only things that would keep him on the roster for 2020.
Another free agent signing that could be cut this offseason is Warren. He was signed to bolster the young bullpen, but his 5.34 ERA in 2019 left a lot to be desired. He was off his career ERA by almost two runs (3.53). Limited by injury to only 25 games, Warren was unable to establish his position on the roster and will almost certainly be a roster casualty.
The Padres made two trades at the deadline, and the lesser trade was for Edwards Jr. The right-hander played a significant role in the Chicago Cubs run to a World Series victory but struggled badly in 2019 for Chicago. That trend continued as he gave up six runs over two appearances for the Padres and then landed on IL for the rest of the season. The Padres may not want to just let him go for nothing, but he could be brought back on a minor league deal to try and right his ship.
After a late-season call-up, Seth Mejias-Brean had a successful September, including belting a walk-off home run. However, the infielder faces fierce competition and likely did not do enough to unseat Greg Garcia as the utility man. It’s a numbers game with Mejia’s-Brean, and the odds are stacked against him. If Preller can get some return value in a trade, he’ll likely pull the trigger. Otherwise, he could be cut.
Between a knee surgery and a lat strain, Brett Kennedy has been limited to less than 30 innings over the past two years. With the roster stacked the way, it is, getting back in the rotation seems highly unlikely. If the coaching staff still believes in him, he may be able to earn a spot in the bullpen; otherwise, he’s another that is likely to be released.
Another player to go on the IL early in the season was Diaz. Limited to just 6.2 innings in 2019, depending on his health, the former Rule 5 pick has some intriguing talent and has tossed some filthy pitches, but he has also been knocked around plenty more times as well. Come cutting time; there is a chance that Diaz finds himself on the unemployment line.
After staying generally healthy, Erlin was a full run worse ERA in 2019 than in 2018. The left-hander was mainly a relief pitcher in a bullpen that sorely lacked southpaws, but he bounced back between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso. This doesn’t bode well for him, and a pink slip may be waiting for him in the future.
After his recent run-in with the law, Nix may be in danger of losing his job. He should still hold some value as he is ranked just inside MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 prospect list for the organization. Nix showed sparks of his third-round pedigree, but a 7.02 ERA in 42.1 innings pitched indicated that he still had things to learn. Last year he worked his way back from injury. If Preller cannot move him, he’s a possibility to be released.
With a sidearm delivery and fastball that has touched triple digits, the Padres like Reyes. What they don’t like is his ERA in the high sevens. He, too, is likely safe, or at the very least tradable. If he hits his ceiling, he and fellow flamethrower Andres Munoz could form a fearsome back-end bullpen duo. However, he still made this list due to his poor performance last season.
Having not thrown a competitive pitch since 2016, Espinoza may be looking for a new team soon. Acquired for Drew Pomeranz in 2016, Espinoza quickly found himself on the IL after making his debut for the organization. Two Tommy John surgeries later and he is still in rehab. His current health is unknown, and it’s tough to speculate how the organization still values him. If Preller still believes in the young man, he’s likely to stay as he is still 21-years-old.
Another September, call-up was Yardley. The right-handed submarine pitcher performed quite well. In ten appearances, he only gave up three earned runs. His delivery is so different; the team may value him more than his stats would suggest. On the other hand, they may not see enough potential to take a roster spot. He should be kept around, but it’s still a numbers game at the moment, and he may not have the status to be held.
After a fantastic rookie season in 2018, Robert Stock had a 2019 to forget. Ending the season with double-digit ERA and being sent to the minors was not the goal Stock had in mind, but it was the reality of his season. He can throw 100 mph, which gives him valuable as a reliever. However, if Stock can’t get back on track, he’s not going to stay around. He may be safe for now, but stranger things have happened. Stock likely still has some value, so he should be more likely to be traded than released if it comes to that.
Yet another free agent signing this past offseason was Loup. He has a career ERA of 3.45 and is left-handed, something the Padres need in the bullpen. Unfortunately, injuries lead to a platelet-rich plasma injection in his throwing elbow and another season on IL. When healthy, he could be a great addition to the 2020 bullpen. If rehab is not going so well, he could be bought out instead.
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The cuts will likely come from this list, but it’s also likely that AJ Preller will also make a trade or two to help trim down the roster. At the same time, if a player is released, the team can still bring that player back on a minor league deal, as long as the player passed through waivers unclaimed. This offseason will undoubtedly be a busy one for the Padres, and this cut to 40 men is just the start.
Lifelong Padre fan born and raised in San Diego, currently living in Temecula. The editors make me sound smart.