“Padres-Losing the Arms Race-Do They Have Enough”
What you see today might not be what is here opening day.
The Padres pitchers and catchers and assorted early arrivals, go thru their first throwing drills today in the Cactus League. The Padres begin searching for the right combination of 11-arms to get them to opening day.
What’s on the roster right now, might not be there come first pitch in the season lidlifter, because we all the know the track record of rogue GM-AJ Preller. A deal could be made anytime-any day, and even any middle of the night.
Pitching was indeed a problem last season. The cornerstone of Bud Black’s teams were depth in the rotation, a strong cadre of relievers, getting you to a closer. That starting staff started badly, got guys hurt, got worse, got the manager fired, before figuring it out, too late to do anything to salvage the season nor anyone’s job.
3-front of the rotation starters return, but you’re looking for better things from James Shields and Andrew Cashner, and a season of dominance from Tyson Ross. They are slated to make a combined 40M of the payroll this season. Last season, that threesome combined for just 29-wins.
Shields started (7-0), but it was not a dominant (7-0) start. Then he became a 6-inning per start hurler and finished under .500-the rest of the way. Now he’s slated to make 21.3M this year, and there better be quality starts that get into the 7th inning. Tyson Ross struggled early, but found his groove and was solid, even with little run support. He gets 10M this year, so they need lots of wins. It was an ugly year for Cashner, but he made his starts, did not have arm problems, and though the record was terrible, (7-17), he suffered from real lack of run support. This is his walk year towards free agency, and at (7.8M), they need much more than what they got.
Beyond that, what do the Padres go to, who do they rely on, is there any track record of success? No, no, and no.
Brandon Mauer found his niche in the bullpen, but suffered from over-work and was finally shutdown. He did better out of the San Diego pen than he did as a Seattle starter. Why they would yank him out of a comfort role is strange. Drew Pomeranz is now with his fourth club. He never has been what many thought he could me, a strong armed starter. Moved from Cleveland to Colorado to Oakland, he still has a vibrant arm, but no big time track record.
Brandon Morrow has had success, most of it in Toronto, but now he has had two surgeries, forearm and shoulder. He was (2-0) before encountering arm problems last year that led to a clean up surgery. If healthy, he becomes the veteran 4th guy you’d want to give the ball to, but the key word is ‘if” he can hold up..
Robbie Erlin has been in and out of the rotation. Not over-powering, but crafty, he has pitched well at times, but been overwhelmed too. Who knows what you get till you give him the ball. Ditto for young Colin Rea, who had some limited good starts, but also got shelled, at the end of the lost season last year.
The Padres are hauling in 31-pitchers in all onto the field today. Ex-Cardinal long reliever Carlos Villanueva has some starting experience, but obviously not enough for St. Louis to bring him back. Jose Dominguez can throw hard, and spent limited time with the Dodgers amongst other clubs. Carlos Pimental put up really good numbers in the Pacific Coast League, where he was MVP in the league, for the Cubs AAA-team at Iowa. Anybody that has a sub 3.00-ERA in the PCL deserves a look, but prior to last year, there was no track record of consistency.
After that, it is a mish-mash of really young guys, or journeyman people, including no-hit knuckleballer Philip Humber, a former White Sox rotation guy and a group of lower minor leaguers including a couple of Rule 5-arms, probably all a year at least away..
A team that gave us a flawed defense, and a roster full of utilitymen a year ago , now adds lack of true pitching depth to the checklist of things they need to figure out over the next 6-weeks over in Arizona.
This is a league where everybody craves pitching, San Diego no longer has what it once had, a deep, proven trusted rotation. That and we haven’t even mentioned the overhaul of the bullpen, where new names don’t equal last year’s names they let get away.
Pitching, the arms war, everyone wants it, need it, San Diego doesn’t seem to have it, or enough of it..