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Prospects Tatis Jr., Urias among Padres' NRIs

Club releases list of 24 players invited to Spring Training
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Padres general manager A.J. Preller has never been one to shy away from challenging his best prospects. He made that much clear once again on Thursday, when the club announced its non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training.

The list features 24 players, including four highly touted pitching prospects and top middle infielders Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. In total, eight of San Diego's 14 top prospects will take part in big league camp.

SAN DIEGO -- Padres general manager A.J. Preller has never been one to shy away from challenging his best prospects. He made that much clear once again on Thursday, when the club announced its non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training.

The list features 24 players, including four highly touted pitching prospects and top middle infielders Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. In total, eight of San Diego's 14 top prospects will take part in big league camp.

Among the veterans included are shortstop Dusty Coleman and right-handers Tyson Ross and Chris Young. Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 14, with the first full-squad workout slated for Feb. 19.

"We talk a lot about accelerating the progress of the gifted," Preller said. "Big league Spring Training, for a lot of these [young] guys, is the next part of that process."

Tatis might be the most intriguing inclusion, even though there's almost no chance he will earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. The 19-year-old is believed to be the Padres' long-term answer at shortstop, and he turned heads across the sport last season, setting a franchise record with 21 homers at Class A Fort Wayne before his promotion to Double-A.

Tatis should pair with Urias to form what some believe will be the club's double-play duo of the future. Urias, of course, is a bit further along in his progression. He's in big league camp for the second time, and he has an outside shot at a roster spot. (At the very least, Urias will be looking to impress for a potential midseason callup.)

On the mound, top prospects Cal Quantrill (No. 2), Eric Lauer (No. 8), Joey Lucchesi (No. 9) and Jacob Nix (No. 14) are all with the big league club for the first time. None are likely to contend for a rotation place, however, and with 10 other starters in big league camp, their stay might not last long.

That said, they'll each get to pitch early in camp while innings are still available. Those appearances will be viewed as auditions for a possible midseason callup.

"It's a chance for them to get acclimated to the big league level, show what they can do," Preller said. "Some of those guys in that group have shown they're advanced for Minor League pitchers. We want to challenge them to show that they're Major League pitchers."

As for the veterans -- the ones with a realistic shot of cracking the Opening Day squad -- Coleman finds himself on solid footing. On paper, he's the best available option to win the backup shortstop job.

Ross and Young, meanwhile, are among 10 legitimate contenders for the five available rotation places. Three of those spots are likely to go to Clayton Richard, Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo.

Here's the full list of San Diego's NRIs:

Pitchers
Jonathan Aro
Adam Cimber
Brett Kennedy
Lauer
Kyle Lloyd
Lucchesi
Michael Mariot
Nix
Quantrill
Ross
Robert Stock
T.J. Weir
Trey Wingenter
Eric Yardley
Young

Catchers
Austin Allen
Raffy Lopez
Stephen McGee

Infielders
Coleman
Josh Naylor
Tatis
Urias

Outfielders
Shane Peterson
Franmil Reyes

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

 

San Diego Padres

Nos. 1, 6 lefty prospects reside in Friars' system

Gore, Morejon earn high rankings in MLB Pipeline's updated list of southpaws
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Looking for baseball's elite left-handers of the future? Look no further than the San Diego farm system.

MLB Pipeline unveiled its updated list of the game's best lefty pitching prospects on Tuesday night, and a pair of 18-year-old Padres farmhands rank among the top six. MacKenzie Gore, the club's first-round pick in last June's Draft, is rated as the game's best young southpaw, while Adrian Morejon checks in at No. 6.

SAN DIEGO -- Looking for baseball's elite left-handers of the future? Look no further than the San Diego farm system.

MLB Pipeline unveiled its updated list of the game's best lefty pitching prospects on Tuesday night, and a pair of 18-year-old Padres farmhands rank among the top six. MacKenzie Gore, the club's first-round pick in last June's Draft, is rated as the game's best young southpaw, while Adrian Morejon checks in at No. 6.

Gore, selected No. 3 overall last summer, was one of the most highly touted high school arms coming out of the Draft. In his senior season at Whiteville High School in North Carolina, he posted an absurd 0.19 ERA and 158 strikeouts to just five walks.

He's since erased any doubt whether his dominance would translate to the professional level. In rookie ball, Gore posted a 1.27 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP.

Meanwhile, Morejon spent 2017 between two Padres Class A affiliates in Tri-City and Fort Wayne. As one of the youngest hurlers in both leagues, Morejon posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP.

Video: Top Prospects: Adrian Morejon, LHP, Padres

Perhaps more than anything, the combo of Gore and Morejon represents the Padres' recent success in the two avenues for acquiring amateur talent.

No team has had more early Draft picks than the Padres over the past two seasons. They put those selections to good use, acquiring righty Cal Quantrill and lefties Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi -- all of whom rank among the organization's top 10 prospects. Gore is the crown jewel of the bunch.

Morejon, meanwhile, was part of the club's unprecedented 2016-17 international signing class, in which Padres ownership committed north of $80 million, including taxes. (It's a commitment that likely won't ever be duplicated, given the new restrictions on international spending in the collective bargaining agreement.)

Morejon signed with the Padres in July 2016 for $11 million (while costing the organization another $11 million in penalties.) That investment could pay big dividends down the road. Morejon is ranked behind Oakland's A.J. Puk, the Yankees' Justus Sheffield, Atlanta's Luiz Gohara and Tampa Bay's Brendan McKay, who round out the top five lefty prospects. (McKay was drafted one pick behind Gore last June.)

MLB Pipeline will continue unveiling its top prospects by position over the next couple of weeks. With one of the Majors' deepest farm systems, it's a safe bet a few more Padres will rank among those lists.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

 

San Diego Padres

Padres show off MLB-largest solar power plans

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres on Wednesday officially unveiled plans for the installation of a new solar power system at Petco Park, which will be the largest in Major League Baseball.

The system -- which will feature solar panels on the roof of the ballpark's upper deck -- is expected to be completed by Opening Day. Construction is underway, and the Padres have partnered with Sullivan Solar Power on the initiative.

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres on Wednesday officially unveiled plans for the installation of a new solar power system at Petco Park, which will be the largest in Major League Baseball.

The system -- which will feature solar panels on the roof of the ballpark's upper deck -- is expected to be completed by Opening Day. Construction is underway, and the Padres have partnered with Sullivan Solar Power on the initiative.

On a fittingly sunny day in the East Village, the news was unveiled in a news conference featuring Padres COO Eric Greupner and San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer.

"It's the right thing to do for our environment and the right thing to do for our city," said Faulconer. "And once again the San Diego Padres lead the way."

Faulconer noted the project's importance in the city's goal to use renewable energy exclusively by 2035.

The system will generate enough solar power to run the entire Padres' front office. The organization expects energy savings in the millions of dollars over the course of its lifetime.

Speaking at Petco Park's main entrance, Greupner was quick to note that the upgrade was a priority of the team's fans and the general public as much as anything.

"As those of us who are tasked with leading this organization have said for years, we consider Petco Park to be a public asset," Greupner said. "The things that are important to the people of San Diego and the city of San Diego are important to us. And energy-efficiency sustainability is among the top initiatives that are important to us, as a result."

Daniel Sullivan, the president of Sullivan Solar, made certain to note the system's impact in the coming years. The project is made up of 716 solar modules hoisted above the stadium's upper level.

Sullivan called it "one of the most complex installations this region has ever seen." And well worth it, he added.

"The Padres are going to have the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball -- and larger than every other stadium combined," Sullivan said. "So this season, the Padres are going to be starting in first place."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

 

San Diego Padres

As spring nears, 2B in SD still uncertain

Solarte trade narrows infield logjam by 1; Spangenberg could play second or third
MLB.com @AJCassavell

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2018 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview the San Diego second basemen.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2018 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview the San Diego second basemen.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base

SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte may be gone -- dealt to Toronto on Jan. 6 for a pair of prospects -- but his departure did little to clarify things at second base for the Padres in 2018.

There's still a logjam in the infield with Chase Headley, Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje likely to fight for at-bats between second and third base. There are still questions about when prospect Luis Urias might arrive. And there are still questions about the possibility another infielder is traded -- and how that could further shake up the roster.

As it stands, Asuaje is the club's only primary second baseman. But Spangenberg has spent plenty of time at the position in the past, and Headley's arrival might foreshadow a move back to second base for Spangenberg. At the very least, it seems likely he splits time between second and third.

Video: SD@SF: Spangenberg ends frame with great running grab

"It's going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds," Padres skipper Andy Green said last month. "I think we're trying to create a culture of belief in our players, but also a culture of competition, guys pushing each other to be great. ... It's a muddy picture trying to figure out how our roster fits together. But I think where we're at is: Bring in as much talent as you possibly can, and we'll sort it out."

As a rookie, Asuaje did his best to stake a claim to the spot in 2017. He batted .270/.334/.362 and showcased significant defensive improvement.

Asuaje would benefit from adding more extra-base hits to his game, but he's one of the Padres' toughest outs, constantly working counts and frustrating opposing pitchers.

He'll be pushed for playing time by Spangenberg (and, indirectly, by Headley). Spangenberg played only seven games at second in 2017, but he's played 93 games there in his career.

Spangenberg's clearest path to regular at-bats could see him splitting time at second, third and even left field. He's no stranger to spring position battles, having spent each of the past three years fighting for a starting spot in camp.

"If you run away from competition, you're probably not going to be in the big leagues in the first place," Spangenberg said. "It's something I've had every year. It's a lot of fun to compete with good teammates."

It's too early to guess who serves as Opening Day second baseman on March 29 against Milwaukee. Trade rumors will continue to swirl around Headley for the next two months, and if he's dealt, that would seemingly clear a path for Asuaje. Otherwise, a fierce spring position battle will ensue.

Don't count out Urias, the club's No. 3 prospect, especially if Headley is dealt. Following the Solarte trade, there's no obvious backup for Freddy Galvis at shortstop. Urias could be that solution, while seeing most of his playing time at second base.

Video: Top Prospects: Luis Urias, 2B, Padres

Projected starter: Asuaje

Potential backups: Spangenberg, Urias

Top 30 prospects: No. 3 Urias, No. 18 Luis Almanzar, No. 29 Eguy Rosario, No. 30 Esteury Ruiz

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

 

San Diego Padres

Padres, All-Star Hand complete extension

Reliever gets new 3-year deal with club option for 2021
Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- With one of the brightest farm systems in baseball, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was looking to lay a foundation for the team's up-and-coming core.

The Padres viewed left-hander Brad Hand as a major piece of that foundation, agreeing to a contract extension with the 27-year-old All-Star reliever on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO -- With one of the brightest farm systems in baseball, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was looking to lay a foundation for the team's up-and-coming core.

The Padres viewed left-hander Brad Hand as a major piece of that foundation, agreeing to a contract extension with the 27-year-old All-Star reliever on Saturday.

Video: Chris Russo on Brad Hand signing extension

The signing, which covers three seasons with a club option for 2021, was announced by the Padres on Sunday. The total guaranteed money in the deal is believed to be within $18 million to $20 million, according to MLB Network insider Rosenthal.

"It's crazy to think about," Hand said Saturday at Padres FanFest. "You can't really put words to it. You never know in this game what's going to happen. The Padres gave me an opportunity and they saw something in me two years ago, which I'm very grateful for."

Video: Green, Richard, Jankowski ready to start 2018 season

Hand was named to his first All-Star team last season and posted a 2.16 ERA with 21 saves and 104 strikeouts over 79 1/3 innings while going 3-4. He also set career highs with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Padres selected Hand off waivers from the Marlins in April 2016 after he was designated for assignment. Hand said the Friars approached him a few weeks ago regarding an extension.

"Obviously, he's been a big-time performer," Preller said. "Over the last two years with us, he's been one of the best relievers in the game. He's filled all kinds of roles for [Padres manager Andy Green].

Hand was a popular name in trade discussions up until last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Preller said he still expects a lot of calls from opposing teams looking to acquire Hand, and that he's willing to listen to offers on any player.

"I've never really thought about the trade rumors in the first place; it is what it is," Hand said. "Like I've always said, it's out of my control. This doesn't mean that I still can't get traded, so I'm sure there are still going to be rumors out there."

Preller said he views Hand as a "winning piece" to mix in with the team's prospect nucleus. Hand was elated with the idea of being a leader of that group and also liked the idea of still being able to enter free agency at a younger age once his extension is up.

"To see some of the younger prospects that they've got coming up, it's real exciting," Hand said.

Since being acquired by the Padres, Hand has struck out 190 batters in 168 2/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA.

"Brad's a guy that's going to be in the bullpen and anchor a bullpen," Green said. "He has the skill and the makeup to be both of those things, and the resiliency, too. I haven't been around a pitcher that takes the ball as willingly and as often."

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

 

San Diego Padres, Brad Hand

Padres see big crowd, excitement at FanFest

Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Andy Green wasn't looking to compare turnouts, but if this year's attendance at Padres FanFest was any indication, fans are eager to see what the future holds for a club brimming with quality young talent.

Over 10,000 people filed into Petco Park on Saturday to participate in the interactive exhibits, question-and-answer meetings, autograph sessions, kid experiences and more at Padres FanFest.

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Andy Green wasn't looking to compare turnouts, but if this year's attendance at Padres FanFest was any indication, fans are eager to see what the future holds for a club brimming with quality young talent.

Over 10,000 people filed into Petco Park on Saturday to participate in the interactive exhibits, question-and-answer meetings, autograph sessions, kid experiences and more at Padres FanFest.

"The passion of the fan base is astounding, with where we are in the process that they'd show up to a day like today," Green said. "It's enjoyable for me. It's enjoyable for our players. We appreciate more than they can possibly know."

• Tickets for Padres Theme Games

Fans had the opportunity to play catch and mingle in the outfield -- with a fly-ball simulator set up in right field -- while being able to run from first-to-third on the bases as well.

The Padres also celebrated the anniversary of their 1998 team, which reached the second World Series in franchise history. Green and Padres general manager A.J. Preller fielded questions from fans at Park at the Park behind the batter's eye in center field, with assorted players joining in.

"A lot of times when you're sitting in the stands, I know as a fan growing up, you feel that connection because you see the players on TV every night," Preller said. "To get an opportunity to hear somebody speak, get an autograph or shake somebody's hand, that's a huge part of it."

Video: Tony Gwynn Jr. discusses the Padres' 2018 outlook

Old and new faces alike were on display Saturday.

Top prospects Cal Quantrill and Luis Urias joined players such as Clayton Richard, Luis Perdomo, Dinelson Lamet, Travis Jankowski, Brad Hand, Carlos Asuaje, Kirby Yates and many others in meeting with fans. Randy Jones was one of several Padres alumni on hand for the event.

"It means a lot for me having the support of the fans here," Perdomo said through a team interpreter. "For us to be able to come out here and interact with them and meet with them, it's a cool day."

Quantrill and Urias represented the wave of talented players in the team's Minor League system. Quantrill is ranked as the No. 38 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline, while Urias is ranked No. 49. The Padres have seven players in the Top 100.

The team also confirmed that Quantrill and Urias, along with fellow prospects Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Lauer, Josh Naylor and Joey Lucchesi, will begin Spring Training with the Major League club.

"I think we're all aware of it; there's a lot of excitement about what's coming," Quantrill said. "I don't think any of us take it as, 'We need to be this. We need to be that.'

"We all know we're talented players, and I think we all know what we're capable of doing."

Video: FanFest: Grant messes around with Orsillo

Along with the field attractions, fans were able to throw off the mound in the Padres' bullpen and tour the visitors' clubhouse. They also had the chance to take part in the Padres Foundation Garage Sale, with several kids attractions taking place in Park in the Park as well.

"I think [the turnout today] gives us a more crystallized desire to give the fans what we want to give them, which is a World Series championship to celebrate in San Diego," Green said. "We're pushing like crazy to get there as fast as we possibly can."

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

 

San Diego Padres

Toddler Cole Bellinger pitches to Cody

Baseball has always been in Cody Bellinger's blood. His father, Clay, was a Major Leaguer for four seasons when Cody was a kid, so it didn't take long for him and his younger brother, Cole, to fall in love with the game.

Need proof? Bellinger's mother, Jennifer, recently shared an old home video of little Cole (a recently drafted Minor Leaguer with the Padres) pitching to Cody, hoping that one day history could repeat itself in the Majors.

Padres avoid arbitration with 4 players

Galvis, Spangenberg, Yates, Szczur all sign; Hand is lone remaining arb-eligible player
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

The Padres agreed to terms with four of their five remaining arbitration-eligible players prior to Friday's deadline for the two sides to submit their salary requests.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis, infielder Cory Spangenberg, right-hander Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur each agreed to terms, with Galvis' deal being worth $6.825 million, according to multiple reports.

The Padres agreed to terms with four of their five remaining arbitration-eligible players prior to Friday's deadline for the two sides to submit their salary requests.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis, infielder Cory Spangenberg, right-hander Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur each agreed to terms, with Galvis' deal being worth $6.825 million, according to multiple reports.

The lone arbitration-eligible player is left-handed reliever Brad Hand. Two other players who had been arbitration-eligible -- right-hander Carter Capps and lefty Robbie Erlin -- previously had agreed to terms.

Even after salary-arbitration figures are exchanged this afternoon, the Padres and Hand can continue to negotiate right up through their arbitration hearing. Hearings take place in February.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

 

San Diego Padres, Freddy Galvis, Cory Spangenberg, Matt Szczur, Kirby Yates

Ex-skipper Rodriguez to manage Lake Elsinore

MLB.com

Edwin Rodriguez will serve as the new manager for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, the Padres announced Thursday. The club also announced Minor League managers Rod Barajas, Phillip Wellman and Anthony Contreras will all be returning to lead their respective teams within the organization.

Rodriguez managed the Marlins for parts of the 2010 and '11 seasons prior to spending five seasons with the Indians' organization. He also guided Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2017. Pete Zamora will serve as the new pitching coach for the Storm after serving in the same role for the organization's Rookie level affiliate last season. Former Fort Wayne hitting coach Doug Banks will serve in that same role for the Storm in 2018 in what will be his first year with the club. Freddy Flores returns for his second season as the team's fielding coach.

Edwin Rodriguez will serve as the new manager for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, the Padres announced Thursday. The club also announced Minor League managers Rod Barajas, Phillip Wellman and Anthony Contreras will all be returning to lead their respective teams within the organization.

Rodriguez managed the Marlins for parts of the 2010 and '11 seasons prior to spending five seasons with the Indians' organization. He also guided Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2017. Pete Zamora will serve as the new pitching coach for the Storm after serving in the same role for the organization's Rookie level affiliate last season. Former Fort Wayne hitting coach Doug Banks will serve in that same role for the Storm in 2018 in what will be his first year with the club. Freddy Flores returns for his second season as the team's fielding coach.

Barajas will be back for his third season as the manager for Triple-A El Paso and fifth as a member of the Padres' organization. Pitching coach Bronswell Patrick and hitting coach Morgan Burkhart return to Barajas' staff as Lance Burkhart joins the Chihuahuas as the team's fielding coach after previously serving as the hitting coach for Double-A San Antonio in 2017.

Wellman rejoins San Antonio for his third season at the helm after being named Texas League Manager of the Year. Pitching coach Jimmy Jones returns for his 10th season within the Padres' organization, while fielding coach Jonathan Meyer is back for his third season. Raul Padron, hitting coach for Lake Elsinore in 2017, joins San Antonio as its new hitting coach.

The 2018 season will be the third as Class A Fort Wayne manager for Contreras, who has spent four years in total as a manager within the Padres' organization. Pitching coach Burt Hooton returns for his sixth season with the TinCaps, and Johnny Carvajal returns for his second season as fielding coach while the club brings on Jonathan Mathews as its new hitting coach for 2018.

Athletic trainers Nate Stewart and Dan Turner and strength coach A.J. Russell will lead the training staff for El Paso, while athletic trainer Isak Yoon and strength coach Drew Heithoff lead the training staff for San Antonio. Lake Elsinore's training staff is led by athletic trainer Ricky Huerta and strength coach Jay Young, while Fort Wayne's is headed by athletic trainer Allyse Kramer and strength coach Sam Hoffman.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

 

San Diego Padres

Makita could play big role in Padres' bullpen

MLB.com @JALaymance

The Padres' biggest need this offseason has always been pitching, and general manager A.J. Preller has made a number of moves to bolster the bullpen. San Diego brought back Craig Stammen on a two-year pact, signed Japanese submariner Kazuhisa Makita to a two-year deal, avoided arbitration with Carter Capps and inked Colten Brewer to a one-year contract.

Brad Hand has proven to be a dominant closer, so the success of the Padres' 2018 bullpen may come down to how efficiently newcomer Makita and Co. can get the ball to the All-Star lefty.

The Padres' biggest need this offseason has always been pitching, and general manager A.J. Preller has made a number of moves to bolster the bullpen. San Diego brought back Craig Stammen on a two-year pact, signed Japanese submariner Kazuhisa Makita to a two-year deal, avoided arbitration with Carter Capps and inked Colten Brewer to a one-year contract.

Brad Hand has proven to be a dominant closer, so the success of the Padres' 2018 bullpen may come down to how efficiently newcomer Makita and Co. can get the ball to the All-Star lefty.

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected bullpen of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Padres might stack up:

BULLPEN IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Brad Hand, LHP
Kirby Yates, RHP
Craig Stammen, RHP
Kazuhisa Makita, RHP
Colten Brewer, RHP
Phil Maton, RHP
Carter Capps, RHP
Jose Torres, LHP

STRENGTH
With Hand, the Padres have one of the top closers in the Major Leagues. The left-hander was an All-Star in 2017, and he owns a 2.56 ERA and an 11.5 K/9 rate in two seasons with San Diego. If the Padres can get the ball to Hand in the ninth inning with a lead, they have to like their chances. Hand also possesses one of the best sliders in baseball, and he converted 21 of 26 save opportunities last season.

Video: SD@SF: Hand strikes out Panik to earn the save

QUESTION MARK
It will be interesting to see how Makita transitions to the big leagues after spending the last seven seasons with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball. Makita has pitched exclusively in relief the past two years after beginning his career as a starter. The 33-year-old has a submarine delivery, which appealed to Preller and manager Andy Green. Makita is not overpowering, but more of a ground-ball pitcher who can induce weak contact. While his numbers in Japan were solid, Makita will face the best hitters in the world when he reaches MLB.

Video: ISR@JPN: Makita freezes Krieger to end the game

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
While the trade chatter surrounding Hand has quieted, there's still a chance Preller is blown away by a proposal and makes a deal for his top trade chip before Opening Day. The Padres' asking price for Hand is understandably high. As of yet, nobody has met it. Hand, who has two years of team control remaining, has said he'd be happy to remain in San Diego, but that won't stop the rumors from circulating.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance.

 

San Diego Padres

Inbox: Prospects who could be All-Stars

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

We're getting closer and closer to prospect ranking season at MLB Pipeline. Can you feel the excitement building?

As I write this week's Inbox, we are putting the finishing touches on our Top 10 by position lists. The first one, for right-handed pitching, comes Tuesday, a day after Jim Callis unveils his all-defensive prospect team. Over the next two weeks, all of those lists -- RHP, LHP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF -- will go live as a precursor to our new Top 100 list. That will come to you on Saturday, Jan. 27, in conjunction with the hour-long special on MLB Network (8 p.m. ET), also streamed right here on MLB.com.

We're getting closer and closer to prospect ranking season at MLB Pipeline. Can you feel the excitement building?

As I write this week's Inbox, we are putting the finishing touches on our Top 10 by position lists. The first one, for right-handed pitching, comes Tuesday, a day after Jim Callis unveils his all-defensive prospect team. Over the next two weeks, all of those lists -- RHP, LHP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF -- will go live as a precursor to our new Top 100 list. That will come to you on Saturday, Jan. 27, in conjunction with the hour-long special on MLB Network (8 p.m. ET), also streamed right here on MLB.com.

So I definitely had lists and rankings on the brain as I picked out questions this week. Enjoy!

Tweet from @DrMikeTanner: if u had to plant your flag on one hitter & one pitcher outside the top 20 to be sn all/star, who would they be?

Check out the video for my answer to this one. I did have the benefit of having a sense of which prospects are making bigger leaps on the 2018 Top 100 list, so that definitely helped inform my decision to pick Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres as my hitter and the Astros' Forrest Whitley as my pitcher.

Tweet from @Ryan_Lee31: Who is the non top ten guy whose name everyone will know by the end of 2018. Kinda like Rhys Hoskins in 2017

Rhys Hoskins was No. 12 on the Phillies' preseason list a year ago and there have been many who have complained, quite loudly, that he's always been under-ranked. That's extremely possible. Looking at our current Top 30s (I'm not giving anything else away about our new lists), there are several prospects who are not in their team's top 10, but could make big leaps forward in 2018. I'm going to stay away from 2017 draftees because they're just starting out and I think this is more about established Minor Leaguers.

It's hard to pick just one, but I think I would have to go with Brewers outfielder Monte Harrison. He's currently No. 14 on the Brewers' Top 30 list and while the 2018 version of that list has yet to be compiled (I don't even do Milwaukee's list), there is no question he'll be making a big jump forward before the season even begins.

The immensely toolsy outfielder really started to put things together in 2017, putting injuries behind him and getting out of low-A ball while turning in a 20-20 season. Then he went to the Arizona Fall League and managed to hit five homers in just 53 at-bats and opened a ton of eyes even though he was only playing twice a week as a member of the taxi squad. Those of us who saw him in the AFL are already buzzing about him, and not just because of the mini-documentary we did with him and Corey Ray. The dude can play and I, for one, can't wait to see what he does for an encore this season.

Video: Ray, Harrison on their friendship, path to MLB

Tweet from @Ohiovoterbear: So even though the Reds have had a strong Farm they have never cracked the top five and barely the top 10. Is that just because their talent was so spread out? What they have been a top five Farm if the talent was closer together?

I didn't want this to just be about player rankings. While we don't rank all 30 farm systems, we do put out a top 10 every year (actually, twice a year; we'll do it again when we re-rank the prospects in the summer.). And it's true: The Reds have flirted with the top 10, typically at the back end of it.

I agree that they have had a very solid system over the last few years, especially as they flipped the switch and went into rebuild mode. And it's nothing to sneeze at being in the 8-12 range annually. I see two reasons for the Reds not ranking higher. The first is a lack of high-level impact talent over the years. It's been more a system of depth and very good players, and not so many All-Star caliber types, which can impact an organizational ranking. Now, that's starting to change, and the Nick Senzel-Hunter Greene-Taylor Trammell trifecta is very intriguing. I'd like to see Trammell work his way to the upper echelons of the Top 100 before saying that trio means the Reds deserve a bump up.

Video: Senzel discusses his development, looks ahead to '18

The other thing holding the Reds ranking back has been that as deep as the system has seemed -- and there is talent 1-30 and beyond -- some of those good/not great players haven't really panned out as well as hoped. Hitters like Eric Jagielo, even Phil Ervin, though he made it to the big leagues in 2017, come to mind. First-round pitchers like Nick Howard and Nick Travieso have gotten hurt or stalled because of control issues. Overall, the system is heading in a very good direction and will continue to funnel good players to Cincinnati. A year from now, if that big three takes another step forward and some of the depth comes through, then perhaps we can talk about them as a top five system.

Tweet from @LavergneRene: Do you see Fernando Romero of the Twins being someone like Severino of the Yanks?

Romero is a right-handed pitching prospect who I think is a touch under-appreciated. Sure he's on our current Top 100 at No. 71 overall, but you don't really hear his name mentioned much when top righties in the Minors are discussed.

I'm sure all Twins fans would love to see Romero be a Severino type in the near future, especially after Severino had an All-Star season and finished third in American League Cy Young voting. Both are 23 years old, but whether Romero can match Severino in other areas remains to be seen. Talking to evaluators who know both pitchers well, the comp isn't a terrible one. Romero's ceiling might be Severino-ish. But that's if everything completely clicks and there's some question over whether Romero has that high end to his stuff and his mound presence.

Video: Top Prospects: Fernando Romero, RHP, Twins

Don't get me wrong here. Romero has more than enough stuff to impact a big league rotation and while he faded in the final month of the 2017 season, it was a very good year considering it was his second full season post-Tommy John surgery. It's just that Severino's stuff is a bit more electric and he has an intimidation factor on the mound Romero might not quite possess. But hey, even if he comes close to what Severino looks like now, you wouldn't be upset with that, right?

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

 

Padres hire FanGraphs editor as senior analyst

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

The Padres on Wednesday hired Dave Cameron as senior analyst -- research and development, as the organization continues to expand its reach in that department.

Cameron, who is a much-respected figure in the analytics community, had been with FanGraphs since 2008 and served most recently as its managing editor.

The Padres on Wednesday hired Dave Cameron as senior analyst -- research and development, as the organization continues to expand its reach in that department.

Cameron, who is a much-respected figure in the analytics community, had been with FanGraphs since 2008 and served most recently as its managing editor.

In a farewell column on Wednesday, Cameron explained his decision.

"I definitely wasn't looking to leave FanGraphs," Cameron wrote. "This place was home. But when [Padres general manager] A.J. Preller called to gauge my interest in working for their organization, I was intrigued by the thought of a new challenge. When I met with [Padres manager] Andy Green, I was inspired to think about the possibilities of using analysis to help players improve on the field. And while I will always love FanGraphs and the people here, the opportunity to help continue to build a winning organization in San Diego was one I did not want to pass up."

Green has embraced analytics in his time as both a Major League coach with the D-backs and his first two seasons as manager of the Padres.

"I was familiar with his work as many in the industry were just from articles that I saw," Green said. "I always thought his insights were impressive, and we're excited to add him to the organization."

Cameron's addition follows a trend of big league teams hiring people from websites that provide a look at the analytics side of baseball.

The World Series champion Astros as well as the Cubs have hired people from backgrounds like Cameron's to be a part of their baseball operations departments.The Red Sox were early pioneers when they hired Bill James, widely regarded as the founder of modern day analytics, in 2002.

"There are things you can only learn about baseball working on that side of the fence," Cameron wrote. "While an outsider's perspective can be helpful in keeping a big picture view of the game, there is so much information being collected and analyzed by Major League organizations that just won't make its way into the public realm. For me, this feels like the right time to make that jump, to go see things from another perspective, and to learn about the parts of baseball that we don't get out here."

Steve Gilbert has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

 

San Diego Padres

Infielder Rondon dealt to White Sox

MLB.com @basebollie

The White Sox acquired infielder Jose Rondon from the Padres in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced Wednesday.

Rondon batted .293/.343/.433 with four home runs and 28 RBIs in 51 games for Double-A San Antonio last season before hitting .282/.330/.412 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 22 games for Triple-A El Paso.

The White Sox acquired infielder Jose Rondon from the Padres in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced Wednesday.

Rondon batted .293/.343/.433 with four home runs and 28 RBIs in 51 games for Double-A San Antonio last season before hitting .282/.330/.412 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 22 games for Triple-A El Paso.

San Diego designated the 23-year-old for assignment on Saturday.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Rondon is a career .290/.340/.395 hitter over seven Minor League seasons. He was a Texas League All-Star in 2016 and played eight games at the Major League level that year. He also represented the World Team at the 2014 All-Star Futures Game. 

The White Sox 40-man roster is now full.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

 

Chicago White Sox, Jose Rondon

Padres have options aplenty for rotation in '18

Richard, Perdomo, Lamet locked into top spots, with lots of competition for back end
MLB.com @JALaymance

Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been stockpiling arms all offseason, and there could be 10 pitchers who will compete for a starting rotation spot during Spring Training. Preller recently acquired Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees, and brought back Tyson Ross and Chris Young on Minor League deals.

• Hot Stove Tracker

Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been stockpiling arms all offseason, and there could be 10 pitchers who will compete for a starting rotation spot during Spring Training. Preller recently acquired Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees, and brought back Tyson Ross and Chris Young on Minor League deals.

• Hot Stove Tracker

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected rotation of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Padres might stack up:

ROTATION IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Clayton Richard, LHP
Luis Perdomo, RHP
Dinelson Lamet, RHP
Colin Rea, RHP
Robbie Erlin, LHP

STRENGTH
Preller has done well to create depth at a position that lacked it in 2017. Richard, Perdomo and Lamet seem to be locked into the Opening Day rotation, but there figures to be plenty of competition for the remaining two spots. The Padres have used a six-man rotation in the Minor Leagues, but it's not yet clear if they would do the same at the Major League level in 2018. Starting pitching depth is a luxury, and one the Padres appear to have.

QUESTION MARK
Which young pitchers will emerge? That's the biggest question facing this rotation right now. Perdomo and Lamet have shown serious promise in their brief tenures in the big leagues. However, neither has backed up that promise with much consistency. The Padres will ask a lot of both pitchers in 2018.

Video: Cassavell reflects on Lamet's exciting rookie season

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
The back end of the rotation could certainly have a different look between now and Opening Day, as there are at least six pitchers who will compete for the final two spots in Spring Training. That group includes: Rea, Erlin, Mitchell, Ross, Young and Matt Strahm.

Preller has also stated that he could add starting pitchers from outside the organization. Internally, four of the club's top prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline pitched for Double-A San Antonio last season -- No. 2 Cal Quantrill, No. 8 Eric Lauer, No. 9 Joey Lucchesi and No. 14 Jacob Nix. It's possible that all four receive invites to Major League Spring Training. Health is another factor in filling out a rotation, as Rea, Erlin and Strahm are all returning from injury.

Video: Justice on how Padres have options for 2018 rotation

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance.

 

San Diego Padres, Robbie Erlin, Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo, Colin Rea, Clayton Richard