Predicting the Padres Opening Day Roster

Plenty of decisions still to be made before Thursday's season opener

Opening Day is on Thursday and the Padres still don’t know for sure what their 25-man roster is going to look like. In fact their final two exhibition games, both in Seattle against the Mariners, could very well be where several jobs are won and lost.

“Without a doubt,” said Padres manager Andy Green about going to Washington without the roster solidified. “Especially when it comes to the back end of the roster; last position player, bullpen pieces and quite possibly a rotation spot still up for grabs.”

It’s certainly not uncommon for big league teams to have a few things undecided right up until Opening Day. What’s interesting for the Padres is how many spots are still being discussed.

“Those conversations, they happen for every club,” said Green. “How many you have just depends on how thick your competition is and there are multiple places that have real competition still ongoing.”

So let’s have some fun and do a little speculating.

As it stands on Monday, three days before the season really starts against the Giants at Petco Park, here is the list of players we KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt will be on the roster:

Austin Hedges – C
Eric Hosmer – 1B
Manny Machado – 3B
Ian Kinsler – 2B
Greg Garcia – INF
Wil Myers – OF
Manuel Margot – OF
Franmil Reyes – OF
Franchy Cordero – OF
Hunter Renfroe – OF
Eric Lauer – LHP
Joey Lucchesi – LHP
Matt Strahm – LHP
Kirby Yates – RHP
Craig Stammen – RHP
Robbie Erlin – LHP

That’s only 16 of the 25 roster spots. The next tier of guys are the ones who would be a surprise if they were not with the Padres to start the season but you can kind of understand why:

Adam Warren – RHP
Aaron Loup – LHP
Chris Paddack – RHP
Phil Maton – RHP
Luis Urias – INF
Francisco Mejia – C

I put Urias and Mejia on this list simply because there’s this little nagging feeling that the Padres might put them down in the minors to start the year because they want the prospects to consistent at-bats, something that will be harder to come by with the big club.

Assuming they’re going to make the cut then we have three roster spots still up for grabs. They need one more relief pitcher, one more starting pitcher, and one more infielder.

The candidates for relief pitcher are:

Robert Stock – RHP
Trey Wingenter – RHP

Stock has more big league service time and threw well down the stretch of the 2018 season. Wingenter was lights out during the Cactus League, giving up no runs on four hits with 14 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. Both of these guys can hit 100 MPH on the radar gun, too. Stock probably has the edge because he’s

I can see a scenario where the Padres keep both of them and cut ties with either Loup or Warren, two veterans added in the middle of Spring Training.

The candidates for the starting rotation are:

Logan Allen – LHP
Cal Quantrill – RHP

Both of them threw on Sunday against the Cubs. Both of them were very bad. So bad, in fact, that the Padres might consider sending them both to El Paso so Erlin can move into the rotation (even temporarily). That scenario would open a spot for both the aforementioned relievers to be on the roster. If they don’t do it that way and they don’t add an established pitcher through trade then it’s a coin flip between two guys who are highly-regarded prospects.

And finally, the contenders for the last infield job are:

Jose Pirela – INF
Fernando Tatis Jr. – FHOF (Future Hall of Famer)

Yes, it’s going to come down to Pirela and Tatis. I honestly don’t know it that’s exciting or terrifying.

If Pirela gets the gig it would not be based on merit. It would be because the Padres don’t want to start the contract clock on Tatis until after April 12, when they can safely bring him up and earn that extra year of team control.

The 20-year-old budding superstar has electrified not only the San Diego fan base, but the San Diego clubhouse with his play and his persona. I get the contract thing and it’s a real concern but the Padres have juice right now. There’s a serious buzz around this club and they have a chance to build on it.

Because the only thing that would be more exciting for Padres fans than watching Manny Machado run to 3rd base on Opening Day is watching Manny Machado run to 3rd base while Fernando Tatis Jr. runs to shortstop on Opening Day.

Now, I don’t think that will happen. But I’m sure hoping it does.

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