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Look at padre rotation options

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The Padres have been pretty aggressive in recent years on all fronts, from signing free agents to trading stars and extending their own players. This propelled their budget to record highs, with List resource currently estimates its payroll at $250 million. Until a few years ago, they barely passed the $100 million mark, rising to $174 million in 2021 and $211 million last year, per Cot’s baseball contracts.

Despite all that aggression, they go into the season with uncertainty in their rotation, both short-term and long-term. They should have a solid front three this year in Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. This leaves two question marks in the back, since Mike Clevinger and Sean Manea reached free agency and signed elsewhere. Darvish and Snell are both expected to reach free agency after this year, opening more holes in the future. mackenzie goreinclusion in the Juan Soto trade has also weakened future prospects. So who do they have on hand to step in and fill those jobs? Let’s take a look at the candidates.

Nick Martinez

Martinez, 32, spent four seasons in Japan and pleaded to that in a four-year deal with the Padres through 2022, a deal that allowed him to opt out after each season. Last year was a mixed bag for Martinez, as he recorded 106 1/3 innings with a 3.47 ERA. It’s a solid production overall, but he came as a 4.30 ERA in 52 1/3 innings as a starter and a 2.67 mark in 54 innings as a reliever.

Martinez pulled out and re-signed with the club on another deal, this time on a three-year deal. The details They are exceptionally complex as there are numerous incentives, as well as a two club/player options structure. Whether he can find better results as a starter this time around remains to be seen. It’s definitely a risk for the Brothers, but at least it looks like he comes with the floor to help the bullpen.

If Martinez really establishes himself as a starter, the club can keep him. Martinez will receive a base salary of $10 million this year and the team will then have to decide whether or not to trigger two $16 million club options for 2024 and 2025, essentially a two-year, $32 million extension. It gives them a bit more control over his future than his previous opt-out laden deal. However, if Martinez doesn’t have a successful campaign and they decline that option, he can decide whether or not to trigger two player options worth $8 million each, essentially an $16 million extension on two years. This gives the Brethren up and down potential in the pact. These dollar figures could also change based on incentives, although exact details are unknown.

Seth Lugo

Lugo, 33, is in a somewhat similar situation to Martinez, as he could potentially end up in the rotation or in the bullpen. He made 23 starts in 2017-18, but only seven since, working mostly as a reliever. This movement was at least partially motivated by a “slight” tear that was discovered in his right ulnar collateral ligament in 2017.

Either way, Lugo has been an effective reliever since then, posting a 3.56 ERA over the past two years, and there’s hope his five-pitch mix can help him come back. to a rotation. It’s another risky move the Padres were willing to make, giving Lugo two years and $15 million, with Lugo able to opt out after the first. He hasn’t topped 80 innings in a season since 2018 and it’s unclear how smooth that change will be.

If all goes well, there will be no long-term benefit for the club, as Lugo will be on a salary of $7.5m but can retire by the same figure for 2024. If the experiment works, he is likely to return to free agency. .and find a greater guarantee. If he fails, the Padres will be hooked for another season.

Adrian Morejon

Morejón, Feb. 24, has long been one of the league’s most exciting pitching prospects. Baseball America placed him in their top 100 for five straight years starting in 2017. Various injuries slowed him down his rise to the majors and he has yet to even pitch 70 official innings in any season. of his career, major or minor or combined.

Tommy John’s surgery in April 2021 wiped out most of this season. He regained his health in 2022, but was relieved. The club would still consider him a starter but he will likely face some workload issues this year. Between majors and minors last year, he recorded 47 1/3 frames. He should be able to increase that now that he’s further away from surgery, but getting to a full workload would be a lot of work. He now has just over three years of service in MLB, which allows him to provide long-term help to the club’s rotation if he remains healthy and achieves his prospect pedigree in 2023.

Jay Groome

Groome, 24, was the Red Sox’ 12th overall pick in 2016. He was once a highly touted prospect, but he’s encountered various speed bumps. Tommy John’s surgery wiped out his 2018 and most of his 2019 which was followed by the pandemic canceling minors in 2020. He has since returned to health and shown decent results but a part of the brilliance of the outlook has worn off.

In 2022, which included a trade with the Padres in the Eric Hosmer agreement, he pitched 144 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. The 3.44 ERA is nice, but his 22.8% strikeout rate is around average and his 10.4% walk rate was concerning. He is yet to reach the majors and has arguably the greatest chance of providing future value to the club with his six seasons in control and one year option remaining.

Brent Honeywell Jr.

Honeywell, 28 in March, is also a former top prospect. Drafted from the Rays, he was in the BA top 100 for five straight seasons from 2016-20. Similar to Morejón and Groome, injuries have kept him from reaching his potential so far. Tommy John’s surgery in 2018 put him on the shelf and he has faced various setbacks since then. He was healthy enough to score 86 innings in 2021 between Tampa Bay and Triple-A Durham, with the club then dealing with him in Oakland. However, more injury setbacks resulted in just 20 1/3 minor league innings for the A’s last year.

Honeywell appears to be healthy again at the moment, having pitched 28 innings in the Dominican Winter League. His 0.96 ERA in that time seems to have been enough to impress the Padres, as they signed him to their 40-man roster last week. It would make for a terrific rebound story if he were to finally put it all together, but it’s hard to bank on him after barely pitching in the last five years. He still has less than a year of service time, giving the Padres plenty of upside if all goes well, but Honeywell is also running out of options and will need to produce in the big leagues right away to retain. its place in the list.

Reiss Knehr/Pedro Avila/Ryan Weather

These three are all on the 40-man list and deserve a mention, though they are unlikely to be called up except in an emergency. All three have gotten some league time in recent seasons, getting fairly brief showings in swing roles. Weathers probably has the most upside of the trio as he’s only 23 while the others enter their respective seasons at 26. Weathers was considered a top 100 prospect in 2021, but he has a 5.49 ERA in the big leagues so far and posted a 6.73 ERA in 123 Triple-A innings last year. , getting thrown into the bullpen as the season progressed.

Wilmer Font

Font, 33 in May, is a real joker. He was a journeyman in the majors for many years but went to Korea to play in the KBO in 2021. For the past two years he has been pitching at an ace level for SSG Landers. He made 25 starts in 2021 with a 3.46 ERA, then 28 starts last year with a 2.69 rating. This past season, he struck out at a 23.3% rate, walked just 4.7% of batters faced, and he grounded on 51.6% of balls in play. .

Success overseas doesn’t always translate to success at the majors, but Font wouldn’t be the first pitcher to disappoint in North America, but then return after a breakout elsewhere, with Miles Mikolas and Merrill Kelly some recent examples. Font isn’t currently on the 40-man roster and will have to work his way into the mix, but it will be interesting to watch.

Julio Tehran/Aaron Brooks

These two veterans were also drafted on minor league contracts. Tehran has spent 2022 in the Indy ball and the Mexican League, posting decent numbers in 13 starts between different clubs. He then went to the Dominican Republic for the Winter Ball and posted a 3.49 ERA in eight starts there. He had a solid run with the Braves earlier in his career, but lit up in 2020 with a 10.05 ERA and then was injured for most of 2021.

Brooks has been excellent in the KBO in 2020 and 2021, posting a 2.79 ERA in 36 starts during that span. However, his attempt to return to the majors did not go well. He made five relief appearances for the Cardinals with a 7.71 ERA and was eliminated outright by the Miners. In 15 Triple-A appearances, 13 starts, his ERA was 5.56.

All told, the Padres have plenty of options here, but all of them have question marks. There are a handful of faded prospects who have yet to put injury issues in the rearview mirror and another handful of veteran swingmen who might still end up being better suited to the bullpen than the rotation. Musgrove-Darvish-Snell gives them a solid front three, which means the Padres really only need a few of these guys to step in. On the other hand, they are one injury away from someone in this group who suddenly find themselves in third place.

The Padres could still round out their staff by opening day, but recent reports suggested they didn’t have much more payroll space to work from. If they want to take the trade route, there are definitely options, like the Marlins who have plenty of guns available and the brewers may be in a similar boat.

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