Inbox: How do Paddack, Myers fit into '19 plans?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers questions from Padres fans

October 25th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The first World Series off-day puts us roughly 7-10 days from the start of the free-agent frenzy. For the Padres, only catcher A.J. Ellis and shortstop are set to come off the books.
Still, the offseason should be a busy one. Here's a breakdown of some of your most pressing questions.
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Does Chris Paddack have a shot at a rotation spot next year -- kind of like Joey Lucchesi's route this year? Guy had a heck of a season.
-- Michael H.

Paddack absolutely has a shot at a rotation spot next year. The organization's No. 5 prospect will probably be in big league camp. A mid-season callup seems likely.
But he almost certainly won't take the Lucchesi route. Lucchesi was accelerated to the big leagues on the second day of the season when went down with an elbow injury. He spent most of the rest of the year at the big league level.
Lucchesi was 24 years old and one of the most durable Minor League arms in the organization. Paddack is two years younger, and was sidelined by Tommy John for the entire 2017 season (and part of '16).
Paddack's numbers are straight from a video game. He struck out 120 and walked eight in 90 innings last season. Thing is, he only pitched 90 innings. That's the most he's thrown during any professional season. No matter where he pitches in 2019, Paddack is going to be severely limited innings-wise. And that doesn't lend itself to the Lucchesi path.
Is going to be the team's starting third baseman on Opening Day?
-- Brian S.

I wrote recently about the four options the Padres have for Myers next season. Two of those scenarios see Myers remaining at third base. But those scenarios are probably slightly less likely than the others.
The likeliest option is a trade -- whether it's Myers himself, or a fellow corner outfielder ( and are also candidates to be dealt.) That would give San Diego two righty-hitting sluggers for the corner outfield spots, with the lefty-hitting supplying the depth.

Earlier this month, the Padres decision makers met and began planning a course for Myers next season. It's unclear what they decided upon, position-wise. But this much is clear: Myers' best position is left field. And if he's in San Diego on March 28, I'd guess that's where he's playing.
What are they going to do to address the starting rotation issues?
-- Emily

By now, you've probably heard that the Padres need starting pitching. Publicly, the team has said that all five places in the rotation are open entering next season. Privately, I'd guess, Lucchesi and have secured two of those spots.
That leaves three available. They've got options on hand already -- , Robbie Erlin and , to name a few. But the Padres are going to surprise people nationally with their activity on the trade front. If there's a controllable front-line starter available, general manager A.J. Preller is going to be interested, and he's got a deep farm system to work with.
That being said, there's not a ton of urgency to deal for a starter. The Padres' rebuilding will probably continue in 2019. If the deal isn't right, it's not going to happen. And if it doesn't happen, the Padres will look for value in free agency. Which brings us to ...
Over/under 1.5 starters signed by the Padres this offseason?
-- Derrick

I'll take the over. And the under.
Over on the number of starting pitchers they sign; they're going to bring a couple of experiments on board. And who knows, maybe one of them makes the club like did last season.
Under on the number of pitchers they sign who actually crack the Opening Day starting rotation. I'd guess they sign one rotation lock in free agency.
When is Anderson Espinoza going to pitch against live hitting?
-- Tommy

Next spring.
The Padres' No. 12 prospect spent the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He's shut down for the year, meaning he'll go through his normal offseason training program. Then, he'll report to camp, where he'll be treated with caution as he builds toward facing hitters for the first time since the operation.