Category Archives: San Diego Padres Shirts

Hunter Renfroe Jersey

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The 2019 San Diego Padres have 17 games left to play this year.

If the team goes 10-7 the rest of the way, they will end up with a 77-84 record.

Flip that, and a 7-10 record will bring them to 74-87.

In the unlikely event that this club pulls off a win streak and manages a 12-5 mark over the next three weeks, a losing record, at 79-82, will be their ultimate reward.

However you slice it, the next month of Padre baseball has very little to offer aside from evaluational opportunities and the time-honored refuge of losing ballclubs—those so-called moral victories of September. Yuck.

With about seven months left until San Diego plays another meaningful baseball game, it’s probably time to start turning our attention toward the 2019-2020 offseason.

Given the club’s repeated expression that 2020 is the expected opening to its window of contention, said offseason figures to be a very important one; factor in the much-ballyhooed roster crunch GM AJ Preller will be dealing with, and it may be fair to upgrade the situation from “important” to “critical”.

The club’s 40-man roster is full. Eleven players currently sit on the 60-day injured list, putting them temporarily off of that 40-man—but they will need space on that roster when they are ready for activation. Several prospects will need to be moved onto the 40-man in order to avoid the Rule V Draft this offseason (including Buddy Reed, Esteury Ruiz, and Trevor Megill), while the club still holds 40-man spots for fringe considerations like Travis Jankowski and Edward Olivares.

Those last two players are of particular note. With a much-discussed logjam in the 2019 outfield, the Padres have received little in the way of clarity regarding their on-grass picture for 2020. Uneven performance, injury, and stagnation have more or less muddied what was already an uncertain state of affairs with San Diego outfielders this year. With Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Josh Naylor, Nick Martini, and Franchy Cordero all expected back next season, how will the team continue to make 40-man room for players like Jankowski and Olivares?

It’s with a question like this that we kick off what will be a new series over the next two weeks, wherein potential trade pieces for the 2019-2020 offseason will be evaluated. Hunter Renfroe, who figures to be the second-most expensive player of San Diego’s outfield group next year, is certainly a trade candidate worth taking a look at.

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It was certainly interesting that the San Diego Padres added Jorge Ona to the 40-man roster protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Ona, by resume, was certainly someone who should have been protected, but there are question marks behind Ona the player.

What’s interesting about protecting Ona was that the Padres had a similar decision with Franmil Reyes in 2017.

Reyes was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft that year but had a wrist injury that ended his season early.

The Padres gambled that no one would draft the big-hitting outfielder who had reached Double-A.

The gamble paid off.

In 2018, Reyes was fully healed and went on a tear at Triple-A El Paso and was promoted to the big leagues.

Once there full-time, Reyes hit 16 home runs in 87 games to go with a .280 average.

He continued to rake in 2019 for the Padres until he was traded mid-season in a three-way deal with the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds that netted prospect Taylor Trammell.

Ona, an outfield from Havana, Cuba, was signed by the Padres on July 20, 2016 for $7 million as part of a heralded international signing class that also included Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon.

He’s been beset by injuries so far as a Padre farmhand, having never played more than 107 games in a season.

Ona had been a fixture in the Padres Top 30 prospect list until most recently when he fell off the grid.

Last season, however, Ona was on the verge of a breakthrough when he was promoted to Double-A Amarillo and hit .348 with 5 home runs and 18 RBI in 25 games. He also had an OBP of .417 and OPS of .957.

But his season was cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery.

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Wil Myers has had a bumpy San Diego Padres career that has included an All-Star appearance when they hosted the MId-Summer Classic in 2016, but after that season he has struggled.

The big story for him is his strikeouts. It seemed like he was striking out at least once every game, which meant a majority of the time he was an easy out in the middle of the lineup.

The Padres even tried to bench him to let him just refocus and get some extra practice in off of the curveball machine, but that didn’t even work.

He seems lost in the outfield at times, and he can’t go back to first base with Eric Hosmer there for the foreseeable future.

So, with that said I think the Padres should just eat his contract and trade him to another team because it seems to me like he is hurting the team more than he is helping them.

The only tricky part about eating his $83 million contract is that in order to actually eat the contract, there has to be a team that is willing to take him on, which is most likely going to be the front office’s biggest question.

If the Padres were to find a team for Myers, they would at the very least be able to save $20-$30 million to either save or spend on some free agents in the offseason like a Gerrit Cole.

People bring up the argument that the San Diego Padres don’t want to eat his big contract, but Wil Myers is not performing and is a hole in the lineup which means they are essentially eating his contract anyway so they might as well trade him to another team.

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Padres GM AJ Preller spoke to reporters at the GM Meetings in Arizona yesterday, with a few interesting notes on the club’s current roster concerns. While Preller didn’t unequivocally dispel rumors of Luis Urias’ availability on the trade market, he did offer that he sees “a lot of scenarios” in which the youngster is starting in the middle infield in 2020 (as noted in an article from Dennis Lin of The Athletic). Meanwhile, catcher Francisco Mejia is “very much in the catching equation” for the club next year, and team officials still feel like Austin Hedges can “swing the bat a lot better than he did [in 2019]”.

Preller also shared that the club is expected to retain second bagger Greg Garcia and that the club’s catching depth is “an area we get hit on” from other teams. Taken together, these comments don’t provide much clarity with regard to the team’s plans at catcher and second, but could be seen as typical of an executive staring down an offseason that offers a dizzying number of potential routes toward club improvement.

More from the NL West…

Another one of Preller’s many touted young players, outfielder Franchy Cordero, tweaked a glute muscle while rehabbing at the team’s complex in Arizona this week. As reported by AJ Cassavell of MLB.com (link), the injury is not expected to be overly serious but should delay the 25-year-old’s participation in the Dominican Winter Leagues. Padres fans know well the extent to which Cordero has been limited in recent years by injuries, as a chronic elbow issue acted in concert with a quad injury to rob him of the majority of his 2019 season. Cordero, a lefty-swinging outfielder capable of playing center, fits exactly the type of player the Padres have been rumored to be in pursuit of this offseason, though he has been limited to just 79 major league games since debuting in 2017. For what it’s worth, Preller still characterized Cordero as, “One of the more talented and physically gifted players in the league in terms of a speed/power combo.”

The Giants are considering University of Michigan coach Chris Fetter for their pitching coach vacancy, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (link). As noted previously, Fetter was a considered as a candidate for the Mets’ pitching coach opening. Fetter, a former ninth-round pick of the Padres back in 2009, previously spent time as a coach in the Dodgers system while new Giants manager Gabe Kapler was serving as the Los Angeles director of player development.

Speaking of L.A., Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reiterated the club’s plans to use Julio Urias in the rotation next season, as noted in a tweet from Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times (link). Friedman currently projects to use Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Kenta Maeda in the rotation, while Ross Stripling will “have a chance” to compete for a spot. The perennial NL West champs have also been connected to a number of high-profile starting pitchers this offseason (Gerrit Cole included), and starter Rich Hill has expressed a strong desire to return to the Dodgers. The team also has Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May on hand as starting options, with Pedro Moura of The Athletic (link) relaying that the club still views May as a big league starter moving forward despite his late-season 2019 deployment from the bullpen.

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I’ve been writing for publication for over a decade. When I was in high school, I wrote an editorial that linked the country’s most highly paid public employee to a pattern of graft and fraud that ultimately led to his indictment. In college, I created and sold a profitable print magazine in Santa Barbara. Since then, I’ve interviewed Grammy nominated musicians, internationally exhibited visual artists, and prominent actors.

All of this is to say: I’ve never had an assignment harder than this one.

As a fan of the Padres, I’ve rarely seen a player do a worse job of ingratiating himself to a fanbase than Ian Kinsler has done this season. Arriving in town on a two-year contract signed this offseason, the second baseman brought with him a very accomplished resumé: he won a World Series last year with the Red Sox; he’s played in 4 All-Star games; he’s won 2 Gold Glove awards. But all of that meant very little once his first season as a Padre was underway.

Across March and April, Kinsler stumbled out of the gate with a putrid 11-for-91 stretch at the plate. He made a few critical errors on the base paths, and made a few defensive miscues that showed plenty of patina on his formerly golden glove. Worse, Kinsler’s presence—and possible cache with fellow former Texas Ranger employee AJ Preller—made it eminently clear that the organization had little plans to give prized prospect Luis Urias much in the way of playing time.

If the early-going was enough to make Kinsler persona non grata amongst the Friar Faithful, the events of May 16th more or less blacklisted him in the eyes of many.

That was…um, yeah. Regardless of whether you believe Kinsler’s explanation that his “F— you all” outburst was intended for his teammates, his “celebration” brought down an avalanche of criticism on him that, in this article, I will attempt to offset.

Does Kinsler’s early poor play and vulgar May outburst really entitle him to this kind of consensus hate?

That’s what I’ll attempt to examine here, by taking a look at what Kindler does supposedly offer to this team in a positive way.

Deep breath. Are you ready? Here are five reasons the Padres need Ian Kinsler.
This is how we do it?

In the Petco era, welcoming in formerly great players who have seemingly no respect for our organization or our fanbase is a time-honored tradition.

Orlando Hudson once called us “pathetic” via Twitter, and offended far worse with his play on the field.

Matt Kemp, arriving to the Padres as perhaps the most famous Dodger of his era, long elicited suspicion around San Diego that he was actually a covert Dodger agent assigned to sabotage us with his flatulent play in the outfield; these suspicions were deemed justified when, on May 17th, 2016, Kemp actually lowered his trousers and relieved himself on the left field grass of Petco park during a game against the Giants. My memory of the incident is hazy, but I can almost completely remember that it happened.

Doug Mirabelli, after being acquired by the Padres in the 2005 offseason, came to then-Padres GM Kevin Towers early in the 2006 season to request a trade back to his original team, the Boston Red Sox. Reportedly, he told Dave Roberts something to the effect that he, “wanted to get back to the big leagues”. To be fair, Towers was able to trade him back for Josh Bard and Cla Meredith, so it is reasonable to argue he actually did Padres fandom a major solid—besides, his removal from the team really helped to lower the team’s collected SPQ rating, which is a statistical measurement I just invented called Soul Patch Quotient. Thanks, Doug?

Any way you slice it, Kinsler’s double-bird outburst on May 16th is a familiar kind of fan outreach for our fanbase, which isn’t, you know, a “big league fanbase” anyway, right?
Power?

Ian Kinsler may be hitting .206 this season, but he has 7 home runs! Dingers!
Grit?

Everyone knows that what a team really needs at the keystone is a player who provides the one true intangible—Grit. In the rest of this piece I will capitalize the word Grit, because i Imagine that when Andy Green thinks of the word “grit”, it feels capitalized in his mind.

Kinsler’s got Grit. And sometimes, Grit means flipping off your teammates in plain view of young children who idolize you. This link goes to nu metal classic “Down With The Sickness”, which is the kind of music i imagine a Gritty dude like Ian enjoys. Hell yeah.
Leadership?

Ian Kinsler, it was said when he was signed, was brought in to provide leadership. Considering that half of the team is Latino, I’m sure they strongly identify with a white guy from Zona who once said the USA baseball team played the team the “right way”, as opposed to the Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic teams, though he offered he that comment wasn’t “taking anything away from them”. That’s nice to clarify.

He also called Rangers GM Jon Daniels a “sleaze ball” after being traded by Daniels to Detroit. Kinsler then wished that his former team went “0-162” in the season following his trade. That, folks, is leadership and investment personified.
Maybe Urias stinks?

A great deal of the consternation over Kinsler involves his blocking of second base prospect Luis Urias. The problem is: Urias can’t play. We know this because he received 29 at-bats at the big league level this season, and he has only hit .368/.461/.724 in Triple-A El Paso. Any prospect taking the job from a Gritty leader like Kinsler needs to hit at least .400.
Conclusion

Well ok, that was indeed a tough assignment, but I think I can be proud that anyone having read this should be roundly convinced that much of the Ian Kinsler bashing is totally unfounded.

In all seriousness though, I will admit that, though he is eminently unlikable from a personality standpoint, the dude has rebounded well with a .375 batting average in June on the heels of a .254 average in May. Maybe let’s put away the pitchforks and torches for a while?

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As it stands now, Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejía both figure to be catching for the Padres in 2019.

That fact also sets up a steady progression for the next three catchers in the Padres’ system — Austin Allen, Luis Torrens and Luis Campusano.

The 24-year-old Allen figures to start the 2019 season at Triple-A El Paso after being a 2018 post-season All-Star in the Double-A Texas League. Torrens, 25, figures to advance to Double-A Amarillo after spending 2018 with Advanced Single-A Lake Elsinore. And Campusano, 20, will likely be at Lake Elsinore next season.

Campusano (№24) and Allen (№25) are both ranked among the Padres’ Top-30 prospects by MLB Pipeline. Torrens would likely be on that list had he not spent the 2017 season on the Padres Major League roster as a Rule 5 draft pick.

Allen, Torrens and Campusano all hit .280 or better last season with an OPS over .700.

Here’s a # PadresOnDeck look at the three catchers in the upper echelons of the Padres’ minor league system.

— Austin Allen was recently added to the Padres’ 40-man roster. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound left-handed hitter was the Padres’ fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft pick out of the Florida Institute of Technology.

Allen has spent a full season with Single-A Fort Wayne, Advanced Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio in his steady climb up the Padres’ system. He is a two-time Padres’ organization All-Star and has never hit below .283 with an on-base percentage below .351 in any or his three full minor league seasons.

He played 119 games with San Antonio last season and hit .290 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .506 slugging percentage for a .857 OPS. Allen had 31 doubles and 22 homers (for a second straight season) with 59 runs scored and 56 RBIs In 451 at-bats. Allen drew 37 walks.

Allen completed 2018 by hitting .263 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .779 OPS. He had three doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs and 10 runs scored in 15 games with the AFL Peoria Javelinas.

— Luis Torrens came to the Padres through the 2016 Rule 5 draft from the Yankees’ organization. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound right-handed hitter hit .163 with a .243 on-base percentage in 135 plate appearances for the Padres in the 2017 season.

The native of Venezuela returned to the minor leagues in 2018 and spent the entire season with Lake Elsinore. He hit .280 with a .320 on-base percentage and a .406 slugging percentage for a .727 OPS. He played 122 games with 36 doubles, three triples and six homers for 62 runs scored and 73 RBIs in 479 at-bats. Torrens drew 26 walks and struck out only 77 times.

Torrens is currently playing with Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. He is hitting .366 with four doubles and six RBIs in 41 at-bats over his first 13 games. He has a .463 slugging percentage for a .829 OPS.

— Luis Campusano was the Padres’ second-round pick (39th overall selection) in the 2017 Draft out of Cross Creek High in Augusta, Ga. The 6-foot, 195-pound left-handed hitter was named the best defensive catcher in the Padres’ minor league system by Baseball America magazine following his 2017 debut in the Arizona Rookie League.

After hitting .269 in his first professional summer, Campusano was batting .288 after 70 games with Fort Wayne last summer when his 2018 season was ended by professional baseball’s concussion protocol.

In 260 at-bats with the TinCaps, Campusano had 11 doubles, three homers, 40 RBIs and 26 RBIs. He had a .345 on-base percentage and a .365 slugging percentage for a .710 OPS. Campusano drew 19 walks in 2018 while striking out only 43 times.

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SAN FRANCISCO — Kirby Yates is the surfer baseball nearly forgot.

Not a single team bothered to draft him 10 years ago. And the next decade was spent sold, released, purchased, waived and traded. He spent parts of nine years in the minor leagues.

Now, at 32, he is on the verge of climbing to the mountaintop of baseball accolades.

Yates is three weeks away from representing the San Diego Padres at the All-Star Game.

“If it happens, it means I’ve come full circle,’’ Yates told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve failed a lot. I mean, I’ve been failing for years. And to make the All-Star Game, it would be unbelievable. This game is funny. It’s crazy. It’s weird.’’

Who would ever have imagined that Yates, who was shuffled and discarded like a used deck of cards from five different organizations in three years, would have the loftiest statistics by any closer in baseball?
Kirby Yates has converted every save opportunity this season.

Yates has been virtually perfect this season, leading the major leagues with 23 saves in 23 opportunities, with a league-leading 0.96 ERA, yielding a .137 batting average against right-handed hitters, to go along with two scoreless streaks of 10 or more innings.

In an organization that had three Hall of Fame closers (Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Trevor Hoffman) a Cy Young closer (Mark Davis), Yates is saving games at a rate never before seen in San Diego.

PLAYOFFS: Some division races are already over

PADDACK: NL ROY candidate sent to Class A

He is the first Padres’ pitcher to have at least 20 saves before June and is just three saves shy of the franchise record for saves before the All-Star break, trailing Heath Bell in 2011.

“It’s been neat to be compared to some of the great closers this organization has had,’’ Yates said, “but I don’t think people should slot me into their category. I have a lot to prove before being compared to them. Come on, let me pitch a full season first, then you can say what you want.’’

Yates is still trying to grasp his accomplishments while knowing that of all the players who make this year’s All-Star team, no one might appreciate it more than him.

“I don’t take any of this for granted,’’ Yates says, “knowing just how hard it was for me to even get to the big leagues, and then bouncing around like I did. And now this.’’

Yates, born and raised in Lihue, Hawaii, visited the mainland only once in his life before his senior year. He had only two collegiate offers to play beyond high school, choosing Yavapai Community College in Prescott, Arizona, over Central Arizona College.

He missed two years in college recovering from Tommy John surgery, and when the 2009 amateur draft came and went, with 1,521 players selected in 50 rounds, Yates’ name was never called.

Tyler Yates, 41, who pitched five years in the major leagues and is now a police officer back home in Kauai, vividly remembers that telephone call from his little brother, who suddenly was about to quit.

“As soon as the draft was over,’’ Tyler Yates said, “he called me and said, ‘Dude, I didn’t even get drafted. No one wanted me. A scout just called, but I don’t even know if I want to play baseball anymore.’

“I told him, ‘You waited your whole life for this. You better take it. Come on, you can’t quit now.’ ’’

Yates listened to his brother, signed a week after the draft with the Tampa Bay Rays and reached the big leagues five years later. He was sent to Cleveland for cash considerations after the 2015 season. Six weeks later, he was traded to the New York Yankees. He pitched 41 games in 2016 for the Yankees, going 2-1 with a 5.23 ERA, and suddenly started to believe he could have an actual future in the major leagues.

He decided to fully dedicate himself to the game, moved from Hawaii to Chandler, Arizona, where he could not only take advantage of the training facilities but also would no longer be tempted to blow off his workouts for a day of surfing with a beer cooler nearby.

“I’d go surfing all of the time; I loved my life,’’ Yates said, “maybe a little too much. I had to be more disciplined and take advantage of this gift. It was one of those things that you work your whole life for this, so why wouldn’t I put forth more effort and get myself dialed in.’’

Yates, who was relying solely on his fastball and slider, started experimenting with a split-finger pitch that winter. He never got a chance to use it with the Yankees, or even thank Masahiro Tanaka for helping teach him the pitch. He was claimed off waivers again by the Los Angeles Angels. He thought the pitch was coming along fine in spring training and his six minor league appearances with Class AAA Salt Lake, but after being called up by the Angels, his tenure lasted a mere inning.

Next stop, San Diego, with the Padres claiming him on April 26, 2017.

In two years, he has morphed from a journeyman to a middle reliever to a premier setup man to one of the most dependable closers in the game.

“I always knew he could do this,’’ Tyler Yates says. “It was always there. But he just had to believe it.’’

Yates had no choice when the Padres traded relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber two days after the 2018 All-Star Game for catching prospect Francisco Mejia. This was the opportunity that was going to make or break him.

“I hated the way I got the job because Brad Hand was my closest friend on the team,’’ Yates said, “but I also felt I was more physically and mentally prepared than anything I could possibly be for in my life. I never panicked. I was never scared. It’s not like I wanted to fail, but I wasn’t afraid to fail, you know what I mean?

“It’s like, it can’t be anything worse than I’ve already been through. I figured if that’s as bad as it’s going to get, no matter what I do as a closer, it can’t ever be that bad again.’’

Well, Yates hasn’t had to find out, converting on 35 of his 36 save opportunities since becoming the Padres’ closer, yielding just 16 hits while striking out 48 batters in 28 innings this season.

It’s not as if he lights up the radar gun with his 93-94 mph fastball, but hitters are kept completely off-balance with his 86-mph split-finger, which he throws nearly half of the time.

Oh, and you want to talk about preparation?

He’s one of the first players to arrive to the Padres’ clubhouse, spending hours poring over scouting information, studying videotape and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of every player he might potentially face in that day’s game.

“He doesn’t just take the ball, chuck it and hope things happen,’’ Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley says, “he’s 100% prepared for each and every game we play. He’s learned how to pitch his way. He knows where his outs come. And he has so much confidence now.

“You hear people say that with a story like Kirby’s and overcoming so many obstacles, he’s proving a lot of people wrong now.

“No, he’s just proving himself right.’’

Really, the only obstacle in Yates’ path now is that he might be, well, too good. He is tantalizing to every contender needing bullpen help before the July 31 trade deadline, and with the Padres falling out of contention, they suddenly have an awfully attractive trade piece.

“I don’t want to go; I really don’t,’’ Yates said. “I love it here. I feel we’ve got something brewing here and will be in contention of years. And I’m so comfortable here. It just fits. I love the lifestyle. I love everything about it.’’

San Diego might not be Kauai, but it’s the closest thing in the major leagues, playing in the perfect climate, and just off the Pacific beach. His dad, Gary, got to see him pitch a week ago in San Diego, and he knows if he’s traded back east, it might be too far for his parents. They never once got to see him pitch for the Yankees because of the 12 hours it would take on even a direct flight to New York.

“It’s just too far for my parents,’’ Yates said, “that’s why San Diego is perfect. I know it’s part of the business, but I’d just hate to leave here.’’

Considering Yates’ success and popularity in the clubhouse, veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler and his teammates say, the feeling is completely mutual.

“We’re thrilled that teams like him,’’ Padres manager Andy Green said. “But we love him. We want him here. We want him closing out games for years to come for us.’’

Yates, who’s a free agent after the 2020 season, refuses to stress out about it, knowing it’s taboo in his Hawaiian culture, but certainly sees the irony.

Ten years ago, almost to the exact day, no team in baseball wanted him.

Today, who doesn’t?

“Crazy game, huh?’’ said Yates. “Who would have believed it?’’

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One of the most easily forgotten transactions of last offseason saw the San Diego Padres sign right-handed starter Garrett Richards to a two-year deal. Richards, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, was expected to miss most of the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. That two-year deal, then, was more of a one-year deal — with that one year being about 2020.

Yet Richards stepped onto a big-league mound on Monday night for the first time since last July, and there was some reason to be encouraged — even if his final line doesn’t suggest as much.

Richards threw 3 ⅔ innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, permitting three runs on five hits and no walks in a loss. He struck out five and threw strikes on 42 of his 61 pitches (or nearly 70 percent overall). Richards induced six swinging strikes, including four on his trademark slider:

Nasty.

For those wondering, Richards’ fastball clocked in at 94.7 miles per hour on average, according to Statcast. That’s down about 1 mile per hour from his average in recent seasons. Whether he regains that extra oomph is to be seen.

The Padres are about to embark on a pivotal offseason, one in which they’re likely to pursue a front-of-the-rotation starter. If Richards can regain most of his old form — he had a 122 ERA+ over 86 starts from 2014-18 — then he could factor into those plans, and perhaps help lead San Diego to its first postseason appearance since 2007.

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On the heels of Luis Urías’ recent promotion to the majors, the Padres have decided to promote fellow top prospect Adrian Morejon as well. Per MLB’s Francys Romero, the club has selected Morejon’s contract from Double-A Amarillo and will allow the lefty to skip Triple-A and head straight for the big leagues. The Padres have yet to make an official announcement and corresponding roster move.

Morejon, 20, profiled as the no. 4 prospect in the Padres’ system this summer. A talented left-hander with a fastball that sits mid- to high-90s and two workable changeups, Morejon struggled to stay ahead of the competition upon his promotion to Double-A in 2019. He finished his time with the Sod Poodles sporting an 0-4 record in 16 starts with a 4.25 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, and 11 SO/9 across 36 innings.

Even so, Morejon’s well-developed pitch arsenal and previous track record in the minors should give him a fighting chance at the rotation in the years to come. For now, the southpaw is likely to step into a relief role until the Padres have a better handle on his capabilities at the major league level.

Per Romero, right-hander and no. 5 prospect Michel Baez will be called up alongside Morejon on Saturday. Along with Urías, the Padres will have three of their top five prospects in the majors at the same time. In the case of Morejon and Baez, Romero adds, it will be the first time a pair of Cuban players have been promoted on the same day.

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The Padres #5 ranked prospect per MLB.com (#34 overall) is angling to get the nod on Opening Day, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Chris Paddack threw four scoreless innings, which included a stretch in which he struck out five consecutive Oakland A’s batters in his most recent spring start. Last season, Paddack made seven starts in Double-A after cruising through High-A, where he notched an eye-popping 14.3 K/9 versus 0.7 BB/9 in 52 1/3 innings. Double-A didn’t slow him much, going 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 7 starts, 8.8 K/9 to 1.0 BB/9. Still, from Double-A to an Opening Day start would be quite the jump for the 23-year-old, just a year removed from missing all of 2017 to Tommy John surgery. The competition is fairly wide open, however, as the Padres, by design, brought very little in the way of established talent to camp. Since the offseason departures of veterans Clayton Richard (traded to Blue Jays) and Tyson Ross (signed with Tigers), Robbie Erlin boasts the most experience in the group, and he’s not even a lock to make the rotation. Fellow southpaws Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer each have a shot to get the Opening Day nod, as well. Let’s check in on the Rangers’ and Cubs’ camps as teams begin to whittle their spring rosters…

The Rangers culled their number of players in camp to 60. Pitchers Taylor Guerrieri, Michael Tonkin, Miguel Del Pozo and Brady Feigl were all assigned to minor league camp, per the Rangers’ executive VP of communications John Blake (via Twitter). Guerrieri, 26, joined the Rangers after making his major league debut last season with the Blue Jays. A former first round pick of the Rays, he was a starter in the minor leagues until missing most of the 2017 season due to injury. Toronto claimed him off waivers before last season, where started 7 games in Triple-A before appearing 9 times out of the Blue Jays pen, pitching to a 5.02 FIP in a small-sample 9 2/3 big league innings. Tonkin, 29, appeared in parts of five seasons for the Twins from 2013 to 2017 with a 4.57 FIP across 141 games. Del Pozo, 26, reached as far as Double-A in the Marlins system before joining the Rangers as a non-roster invitee. While Feigl, 28, is back in the Rangers system where he has pitched for the past two seasons.

The Cubs made a number of roster moves today, with promising righties Adbert Alzolay and Jen-Ho Tseng being optioned to Triple-A, while Justin Steele and Oscar De La Cruz were sent to Double-A, per the Athletic’s Patrick Mooney (Twitter links). Also on the move, Duncan Robinson, Ian Clarkin, Colin Rea, Ian Rice, Charcer Burks and Jacob Hannemann are being moved to minor league camp (Twitter link). Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter) adds Craig Brooks, Alberto Baldonado and Evan Marzilli to the list of players headed to minor league camp. The Cubs spring roster has now been cut to 54.

Rob Scahill, meanwhile, was released outright by the Cubs, per Mooney (via Twitter). Scahill has pitched at the big league level for parts of seven seasons running, topping out at 31 appearances in 2016 spread between Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. In total, the 32-year-old boasts a career 3.95 ERA (4.67 FIP) in 124 games for Rockies, Pirates, Brewers and White Sox.