Padres pondering last spots on playoff roster

September 27th, 2020

The Padres have three days to set their postseason roster, and a world of questions to answer.

In several cases, they won't have those answers until they get clarity on a few of their injuries -- notably Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet in their rotation.

But they've already begun to map out contingencies and plan for their 28-man squad, which must be submitted to Major League Baseball on Wednesday morning.

With 22 to 24 spots seemingly already solidified (pending the status of Clevinger and Lamet), here's a look at the candidates for the last few places on the roster:

Greg Garcia, Util.
On the surface, Garcia seems like a lock. He's been an integral bench piece all season. But what role does Garcia play, come October? There’s no obvious one. He's unlikely to replace any of the Padres' infielders, and it's hard to envision Garcia pinch-hitting for any of the righty hitters in the projected lineup. Then again, Garcia is almost certainly in -- because of his versatility and his experience and because you never know what playoff baseball might bring.

Austin Adams, RHP
He's only made two appearances entering play Sunday. But team decision makers feel Adams has probably shown enough to warrant his place on the roster. He's been dominant in those two outings since his return from ACL surgery. (And most importantly, he's thrown strikes.) Adams might not work big-time leverage innings. But his arm -- his slider in particular -- is too electric to leave off.

Jorge Mateo, Util.
Mateo, like Adams and Garcia, is probably in. The Padres view him as an elite speed threat, and in a three-game series with everything on the line, his skill set is valuable. On a 25-man roster, it might be tougher to find a spot for Mateo. But with 28 players, Mateo should serve as a valuable pinch-running option (who can play both middle infield spots and all three outfield spots, if needed).

Dan Altavilla, RHP
If we're assuming Garcia, Adams and Mateo are in -- and Clevinger and Lamet are healthy -- that leaves one place available. Altavilla is the early favorite. The Padres have options on offense, but the uncertainty of their pitching staff might make an extra reliever a bit more valuable. Plus, it helps that Altavilla has a 3.86 ERA and a 2.05 FIP since joining the Padres.

Greg Allen, OF
Allen has only played one game since arriving from Cleveland at the Trade Deadline, but the Padres are seriously considering him for the final place on their Wild Card Series roster. Allen is an excellent defender at all three outfield spots, and could be valuable as a replacement, potentially in left field. Plus, he's their only true center field option behind Trent Grisham.

Luis Patiño, RHP
Patiño is very clearly on the outside looking in. He's got huge upside as a 20-year-old prospect, but he walked too many hitters in his debut season for the Padres to be comfortable giving him Wild Card Series innings. But if Clevinger or Lamet (or both) are hurt, that thrusts Chris Paddack, Garrett Richards and Adrian Morejon into very different roles. Patiño is cover, in case the Padres need an extra long man in their 'pen. Joey Lucchesi and Luis Perdomo could also be in consideration for that role.

Jorge Oña, OF
Oña is clearly a long shot at this point. But it’s worth noting that San Diego doesn’t have much righty thump off its bench. Now, that might not matter if the only lefty-hitting starters are Eric Hosmer, Jake Cronenworth and Grisham. All three are trusted to face even very tough lefty relievers. But the Padres’ bench is currently comprised of three lefty bats and Mateo (a pinch-runner). They’ll at least consider balancing it.