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Padres to be active ahead of Rule 5 deadline

Club must clear space on 40-man roster or risk losing prospects
November 12, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Whether the transactions are major or minor, the Padres are going to be active over the next week. They have to be.An important deadline looms on Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. PT. San Diego must add a handful of its top prospects to the 40-man roster, or

SAN DIEGO -- Whether the transactions are major or minor, the Padres are going to be active over the next week. They have to be.
An important deadline looms on Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. PT. San Diego must add a handful of its top prospects to the 40-man roster, or they'll be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft in December.
But the Padres already have a full 40-man roster, meaning something has to give. Half a dozen or so big leaguers could be designated for assignment in the next 10 days.
"We were obviously focused on some big-picture items in the past month," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "But we're also focused on some smaller deals, smaller moves, so it ends up at the end of the day that we have a strong roster, 1 to 40, and we make the most use of our resources here."
Among MLB Pipeline's top 30 prospects, here's who is not protected:
• No. 5 Chris Paddack, RHP
• No. 12 Anderson Espinoza, RHP
• No. 25 Austin Allen, C
• No. 28 Edward Olivares, OF
• No. 29 Pedro Avila, RHP

A handful of prospects outside the top 30 are candidates to be added as well, including Ty France, Trevor Megill and Hansel Rodriguez.
Of course, the Padres went 66-96 last season, and given those struggles, it probably shouldn't be too difficult to clear space. Among the players on the roster bubble:
Walker Lockett, RHP
Colin Rea, RHP
Luis Torrens, C
Carlos Asuaje, 2B
Jose Pirela, 2B
Allen Cordoba, IF
• Javy Guerra, SS
Those seven aren't the only candidates for designations before the deadline, but all seven have given the Padres a reason to potentially cut the cord.
Lockett and Guerra weren't all that good in the Minors last season, but both were given a brief big league opportunity and struggled.
Asuaje and Pirela also floundered in 2018, and they could give way to the youth movement on the Padres' infield. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias appear set to take over the middle spots. (Plus, last week's addition of Greg Garcia drops Asuaje and Pirela on the depth chart.)

Torrens and Cordoba -- once Rule 5 selections themselves -- are far from big league ready. And Rea simply hasn't been the same since his 2016 Tommy John surgery. He posted a 5.73 ERA in the Minors this year.
Of course, there are other ways to clear roster space. The Padres traded catcher Raffy Lopez to Atlanta this month for cash or a player to be named. Lopez was unlikely to be retained in the first place.
In that same light, the Padres' front office has been active in trying to find trade partners for some of its would-be roster casualties. Preller has insisted the cuts haven't been decided upon.
"It's fluid," Preller said. "It's honestly a day-to-day thing. We've already made a couple roster-cleanup-type moves. There's been plenty of discussion in the last month."

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