As 2022 Spring Training nears its end, the Padres knew they had a surplus of starting pitchers in camp. They also remember what happened in 2021, when they basically ran out of arms with six weeks left in the season.
It appears they are not going to let that happen again.
On Sunday the Padres sent a pair of minor leaguers to Oakland for lefty Sean Manaea. The 30-year-old is coming off a season where he started 32 games and finished with a 3.91 ERA and a pair of shutouts. He tossed a no-hitter in 2018 but has earned a reputation of being solid and consistent.
In 2021 he finished in the Top-10 in the American League in starts, strikeout to walk ratio, innings pitched, opponents OPS, and ERA. His manager with the A's was Bob Melvin, now the Padres skipper, and BoMel is happy to see one of the game's bigger personalities joining him in San Diego.
"He's a terrific teammate. I've always called him the world's best teammate," says Melvin. "I remember during COVID when the pitchers were sitting in the stands he literally made up signs for the players he would hold up in support of them. He'll fit in really well here."
The Padres also received minor league pitcher Aaron Holiday while sending back a pair of prospects in right-hander Adrian Martinez and infielder Euribiel Angeles. Martinez was potentially in the mix for a rotation spot in San Diego before the emergence of MacKenzie Gore and arrival of Nick Martinez while Angeles played well in 2021, hitting .329 between Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne.
Somewhat ironically, Manaea was scheduled to start Sunday afternoon's Cactus League game for the A's against the Padres. Instead he simply put on the other uniform and started for the Padres against the A's.
Manaea's arrival means the Padres have to make some decisions on their starting rotation. They optioned Ryan Weathers, who was fighting for a 5th starter job or the role of long reliever, to Triple-A El Paso. Another arm might find his way back on to the Injured List.
Mike Clevinger, who got roughed up in his only Cactus League start against the Giants, is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. His arm feels good but he's developed another issue.
"He's got a little right knee soreness so we'll back him up a little bit," says Melvin. "It felt like we were kind of in a rush job with him to begin with so it allows us to kind of smooth things out and slow it down some. We don't think it's a significant thing. It might be a little bit of a blessing because we feel like we were kind of rushing him a little bit."
If Clevinger starts the season on the IL it leaves Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Manaea, Martinez, Gore, and Chris Paddack as the remaining starters. That means seven arms for five rotation spots. But, it's a much better problem to have than the one they faced in September when they had, at times, two starters to fill those five spots.
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