Padres Roster Could Look Quite … Interesting

Friars are considering some bold and youthful moves

Want to know what the Padres roster is going to look like on Opening Day they play the Dodgers in Los Angeles?

Hang on. This will take a while.

As of Wednesday, March 29, 2017 the Padres are kicking around the idea of having what would be, hands down, the most unique roster in all of Major League Baseball.

“It’s an interesting roster composition that we’re flirting with at this point in time,” said Manager Andy Green. He is in no way exaggerating.

“The possibility still exists that technically in the world’s eyes you’re carrying possibly four catchers if you carry Christian Bethancourt, Hector Sanchez, Luis Torrens and Austin Hedges,” said Green.

That’s right, four catchers. However, as is the case with a lot of stuff these days where the Padres are concerned, that number comes with a caveat.

“Now Bethancourt, if we keep him in that scenario we’re looking at him more as an 8th reliever rather than a true catcher. His predominant role will be in the bullpen.”

I know you’ve all heard about the Bethancourt to the bullpen thing plenty of times already but as Spring Training has played out he truly has become the guy around which the Padres roster will be built.

“He changes the whole complexion of the roster,” said Green. “There’s a lot of intrigue in his arm. He’s been up to 97 MPH at times. There are times he’s flashed plus plus plus-stuff. We don’t have the opportunity to send him down to let him develop as a pitcher. We have to allow that to happen at the Major League level and we think there’s long-term value in him.”

If they do end up keeping Bethancourt as well as the other three catchers it minimizes what the Friars can do in the field because they’d have have 16 roster spots spoken for, leaving only nine more for the infield and outfield.

The likely breakdown there is five infielders and four outfielders, and if you think you know who those guys will be trust me, you don’t. The Padres might keep as many and three Rule 5 draftees on the roster this year.

“When you’re looking at Luis Torrens and Allen Cordoba, possibly keeping them on the Major League roster … everyone has a positive and everyone has a drawback,” said Green.

The positive is a crazy level of talent. The drawback is a serious lack of experience.

Torrens is a catcher. Cordoba is an infielder. The other guy is Miguel Diaz, a right-handed reliever. All have enough upside to keep them around for a while even though they are being asked to make a ridiculous leap in competition.

Cordoba was taken out of the Cardinals organization. He’s 21 years old and has never played a game above the Rookie Ball-level Appalachian League, where last year he hit .362 with more walks than strikeouts.

Torrens was one of the top prospects in the Yankees organization before shoulder issues set him back. But he’s still just 20 years old and got a clean bill of health after off-season surgery a year ago. He has only played 40 games of advanced A-ball.

Diaz is 21 years old and has never pitched above short-season A-ball with the Brewers organization but much like Luis Perdomo last year his stuff is too good to ignore. He’s only allowed three hits in 8.0 innings with the Padres during Cactus League games.

The Padres are seriously considering keeping all three guys.

“Those are real discussions going on right now and I think they’ll persist for the next couple of days because there’s a tradeoff with every one of them,” said Green.

If all three youngsters do stick they’ll have to stay on the big league roster for the duration of the season (like Perdomo) or offer them back to their original teams (like outfielder Jabari Blash, who ultimately ended up staying in the organization after a trade with the Mariners).

If that happens there are tough decisions to make. On the infield, who do you knock out to keep Cordoba? You know Wil Myers, Erick Aybar and Yangervis Solarte are on the team. That leaves Cory Spangenberg, Ryan Schimpf and Luis Sardinas and the Padres can only keep one.

Or maybe they can keep two if the team thinks Cordoba can handle the outfield, which he has done admirably during Spring Training. The outfield is going to have Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski and Manuel Margot (as long as his knee is healthy) in it. Alex Dickerson won’t be ready for Opening Day. Might the Friars think Cordoba offers a better opportunity than Blash or Collin Cowgill?

That is a serious possibility and for a progressive-thinking manager like Green it offers a world of possibilities.

“We have the potential to use some of our pieces in unique fashions and up-down concepts that cover some of our inexperience on the bench. We’ve got a lot of things we like in a lot of guys.”

Yup. They definitely have some tough decisions to make.

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