The Padres 2024 bullpen taking shape

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Japan Times

The San Diego Padres bullpen will have a different look in 2024, but they should still have plenty of success.

Josh Hader is now a Houston Astro.

The Padres’ dominant former closer left via free agency with little to no effort by San Diego to bring him back.

That was not a surprise, as the suddenly frugal Padres could not spend the nearly $100 million it took to secure Hader. The Padres, instead, chose to spend money on several players in order to fill the issues within the roster. Yuki Matsui was signed from Japan, and Woo-Suk Go was brought over from Korea. Each pitcher comes with closing experience in their countries, and both men will likely be used in high-leverage situations.

Robert Suarez is still rostered by the Padres, and the right-handed fireball pitcher will probably start the season as the Padres closer.

No matter who gets the last out of the game, the Padres will have plenty of options.

Beyond these three men, there are several new players and a few familiar faces who should factor in some degree to the Padres 2024 season as well. Preller and his staff did well to secure several arms that are capable of breaking out in 2024.

Here is a look at the unit as it presently stands.

 

Robert Suarez– RHP

This power pitcher will likely start the season as the team’s closer. However, he has little experience closing games at the major league level. Suarez has one save for the Padres in the two years he has pitched for the club. The stuff is there to close games, but if he wavers, the Padres do have options in the ninth inning.

 

Yuki Matsui– LHP

Matsui is only 5-foot-8, but he brings 236 career saves in Japan with him to the Padres. The small left-handed pitcher traditionally attacks hitters and is relentless with his breaking stuff. The Padres will, at the very least, have an effective left-handed pitcher to throw in high-leverage situations.

Credit: KBO

 

Woo-Suk Go– RHP

25-year-old Woo-Suk Go has saved 139 games in his career. The Korean pitcher produced overseas, but will his stuff play at the major league level. Only time will tell for the Padres, but the pitcher should be effective, as there is a lack of familiarity with his stuff around MLB.

 

Wandy Peralta– LHP

Signed this past week, Peralta gives the Padres another left-handed option out of the pen. The Dominican native pitched for the Yankees the last few seasons, recording a 2.82 ERA in three seasons and over 150 innings in relief. Peralta gives the Padres an experienced veteran to attack left-handed batters in the N.L. West.

 

Tom Cosgrove– LHP

The third southpaw pitching out of the pen will likely be Cosgrove and his amazing slider. He gets enormous break on the pitch and is very tough on left-handed batters. The Padres will hope Cosgrove can improve on his rookie season that saw him go 1-2 with a 1.75 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP in 54 games and 51 innings pitched.

 

Steven Wilson– RHP

Wilson threw well last season for the Padres, recording a 3.91 ERA in 52 games and 53 innings pitched. His sophomore season was close to what he produced as a rookie in 2022, solidifying that Wilson is a productive member of the bullpen moving forward. The former 8th-round pick in 2018 will be leaned on heavily in 2024.

 

Enyel De Los Santos Credit: MiLB

Enyel De Los Santos– RHP

A familiar face is this right-handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic. The Padres traded De Los Santos to the Phillies in 2017 for Freddy Galvis as the team was desperate for a shortstop. De Los Santos was viewed as a starting pitcher then but has transitioned to the bullpen, where he showed promise, recording a 3.25 ERA last season in Cleveland for the Guardians in 70 games and 65.2 innings pitched.

 

Alek Jacob– RHP

Jacob got the call to the majors from Double-A in 2023, where he was pitching exceptionally well, recording a 1.32 ERA in 18 games and 27.1 innings pitched. The funky-tossing right-handed pitcher did not allow a run in three innings pitched at the major league level. He struck out five in that time, failing to even allow a hit. Jacob is raw but provides a different look for the Padres in the pen.

 

Luis Patino– RHP

A former top prospect within the system, Patino returns to San Diego and could pay dividends in the rotation or the bullpen. At 24, there is still hope that Patino can find the command that is essential for him to be a productive major league pitcher. He is wild right now, and hopefully, Ruben Niebla can work some magic on him for the 2024 season.

 

Padres Adrian Morejon
Credit: AP Photo

Adrian Morejon– LHP

Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Morejon is expected to begin the season on the I.L. The lefty has seemingly been in the system forever but is still only 25 years old. The Padres will hope that Morejon can show some health late in the spring. If so, he may be a factor at some point for the team. He was throwing 99 mph before undergoing elbow surgery.

 

Jeremiah Estrada– RHP

Selected from the Cubs, Estrada is a sort of wild card for the 2024 season. The 25-year-old has a big arm but has control issues that need to be worked out. He may play a factor in the bullpen early in the season, but it will take an impressive spring for that to happen. Anything can happen, and he is worth monitoring.

 

Pedro Avila– RHP

Avila returned from arm surgery to be very productive in the 2023 season. He is sort of an enigma, as Avila pitched much better in the majors than he did at the Triple-A level. Avila recorded an 8.57 ERA in 19 games for El Paso, only to put up a 3.22 ERA in 14 starts with the Padres. The curveball specialist will need to be impressive this spring to win a rotation spot, let alone a place in the bullpen.

 

Sean Reynolds– RHP

Reynolds is a former two-way player who has given up hitting after recording a .630 OPS in over 1,000 plate appearances in the minors. The right-handed thrower has a big arm, but mechanical issues are preventing him from advancing. He walked 27 batters last year in 16 innings for the Chihuahuas, and that is not going to cut it.

 

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Logan Gillaspie– RHP

It will take a lot for Gillaspie to make the team out of the spring, but the Padres are going to give the right-handed pitcher a chance to show his stuff. Last season, Gillaspie got in 11 games for the Orioles, recording a 6.00 ERA in nine innings. The pitcher has spent time in three organizations (Milwaukee, Boston, and Baltimore) before the Padres.

 

Glenn Otto– RHP

The Padres signed this former Texas Ranger to bolster the depth in the bullpen. Otto has major league experience, as he has thrown in 39 games for the Rangers in three seasons. The Padres are probably not expecting much, but Otto will provide a veteran arm in El Paso who is capable of promotion.

 

Stephen Kolek– RHP

26-year-old Stephen Kolek has yet to make his major league debut, but 2024 could be the season. The righty spent last year with the Mariners organization, putting up a 3.76 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. He struck out 76 in 69.1 innings pitched and walked 32. He will need an excellent spring to make the team initially.

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