4 things we learned from Friars' roster cuts

March 8th, 2020

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres made their first round of roster cuts on Sunday morning, sending 12 players to Minor League camp, including prospects , and Gabriel Arias.

A quick rundown on the moves:

• Outfielders and were optioned to Minor League camp. (Both are on the 40-man roster.)

• Infielders Arias, Miller, and ; outfielder ; catcher Campusano; and righties , , and Dauris Valdez were all assigned to Minor League camp. (They're not on the 40-man, so they didn't need to be optioned.)

Nothing there should come as much of a surprise. All 12 players were extreme long shots for the Opening Day roster, and a handful of them were dealing with nagging injuries.

"We're starting to run out of innings, and that group is getting ready to go down and prepare for their year," manager Jayce Tingler said. "... Out of that group, we're very pleased -- great attitudes, good work ethics. Excited for them."

Even though they were expected, those decisions brought a bit of clarity to a few different races. Plus, there's plenty to be gleaned from the players who weren't among those cuts. Here are four things we learned from the moves Sunday:

1. Trammell is in the outfield mix
Perhaps the most noteworthy development Sunday morning was the fact outfielder wasn't listed among those cuts. Trammell, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Padres' No. 5 prospect and No. 57 overall, has been one of the standouts of Spring Training. Through his first 12 games, he was batting .409 with a 1.095 OPS.

"He's playing really well," Tingler said. "Being around the Major League staff, and, more importantly, the Major League players, we think it's been a great experience."

It's still a long shot that Trammell cracks the roster. The Padres' starting outfield seems mostly set, with in left, in center and in right. There's a battle for the backup in right, but that should come down to and .

It's possible the Padres carry five outfielders, but there's no way Trammell fits in that capacity when he could be getting regular at-bats in the Minors. But even if Trammell is currently on the fringe of the race, the fact is he's still in the race.

2. The second-base battle has clarity
Miller and Quiroz were second-base options, but they both struggled early in camp. With the additions of and , their path to a roster spot vanished.

Now the second-base picture -- and the race for utility spots -- has some clarity. Dozier and are at the forefront, with practically a roster lock as a utility man. Garcia will undoubtedly receive a few starts at second against right-handers.

But there might be one more infield spot available (two, if Dozier doesn't make the team). The full list of utility pieces in big league camp is a long one: Garcia, Valera, , , , , , .

After Garcia, France and Cronenworth clearly have the early edge.

3. The bullpen is still awfully crowded
The Padres reassigned four pitchers on Sunday, a surprisingly low number, given that their starters are working deeper into games. There aren't many innings to go around, and the San Diego bullpen is still 20 deep.

In reality, the race isn't that crowded. Six of those spots have been solidified -- , , , , and . It's also widely believed that will make the club -- both because he's been excellent this spring and because he's out of Minor League options.

With one spot available, and are at the forefront of that mix. Castillo, however, has been brought along slowly this spring after missing nearly all of last season with injuries. It's possible he opens the year on the injured list or at Triple-A.

It's sensible for the Padres to keep so many arms in camp, in case Munoz struggles or in the event of an injury. Plus, they've all been pretty good. The 13 relievers on the Padres' 40-man roster had combined for a 2.04 ERA this spring entering Sunday, and the bullpen's overall 3.10 mark ranked first in the Cactus League.

4. Arias is regarded very highly
Arias was a late addition to the Padres spring roster. While Fernando Tatis Jr. missed a week with the flu, the team's No. 8 prospect was given ample opportunity, and he made it count. Arias, 20, held his own at the plate, batting .308 with three walks and a stolen base over eight games. He was also a standout defensively.

"I feel confident he can play Major League shortstop, Major League second-base defense right now," Tingler said. "Which, for a young kid, that's quite a compliment. But it's a credit to how he's played the game."

There are questions about how Arias' bat might play at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues. Arias will get the chance to answer them this season, but he showed promise last year at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, slashing .302/.339/.470 in his age-19 season. At the very least, the Padres have a promising defense-first option in their middle infield.