Padres' roster could be close to set after wild December
SAN DIEGO -- The month of December was a hoot for first-year Padres general manager A.J. Preller, who revamped the roster with the kind of dizzying shuffling of players seldom -- if ever -- seen in these parts.
Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, power arms for the bullpen and plenty of other moves sprinkled in to keep things interesting.
What will he do for an encore in January?
"We're trying to get to a point where we not only have a core group of players, but we have some depth and have some impactful offensive performers," Preller said last week. "That's been the goal all along. I think we're still working toward that."
While it's safe now to assume you can't rule anything out with Preller, it's also probably a fair statement that the roster today is pretty close to what it will look like on Opening Day, when the Padres head north to face the Dodgers on April 6.
"Especially on the pitching side," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I don't know how much more we can do with the pitching. We lost some arms in [trades] with Jesse Hahn (A's), Joe Wieland (Dodgers) and R.J. Alvarez (A's) but he's replenished that."
Last week, Preller added two power right-handed arms for the bullpen in deals with the Yankees and the Mariners, Shawn Kelley and Brandon Maurer.
The Padres, as it stands today, will go with Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy to head their rotation. Brandon Morrow, Robbie Erlin, Odrisamer Despaigne and Matt Wisler figure to compete for the last two spots unless future moves are made.
Trade targets (Cole Hamels) or free agents (James Shields) appear to be very remote possibilities at this point for the team.
"We feel pretty good about where our pitching is right now," Black said.
The Padres might be nearing the finish line in terms of their position player grouping as well with the additions of Kemp, Myers, Upton, catchers Derek Norris and Tim Federowicz, utility man Clint Barmes and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Even with the trade last week of outfielder Seth Smith to the Mariners, the Padres have 10 outfielders who will compete for spots on the 25-man roster, with Upton figuring to start in left field, Myers in center and Kemp in right field.
"The offensive side ... it's getting closer," Black said. "People might think we have a crowded outfield but those have a way of working themselves out as we get close to Opening Day. And Spring Training is a time when teams are still in the middle of nailing down their roster and they might look at our roster with some interest."