Padres make tough decisions for 25-man roster
The San Diego Padres made their final roster cuts Tuesday night after beating the Kansas City Royals in their final preseason warmup. There were a few interesting decisions to be made coming down to the wire. The utility role was up for grabs, and Andy Parrino and Everth Cabrera were both battling throughout the spring, pushing each other. One guy would have a great game one day, and the next day the other. I speculated why I believed Parrino would have the inside shot in this recent post, and the Padres did elect to break camp with Parrino, not Cabrera.
Parrino finished the spring hitting.212/.278/.455, with 1 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI and 10 K in 66 AB, while going 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts. Cabrera had an almost identical average this spring, hitting .210/.258/.290 with 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI and 14 K in 62 AB, and going 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts. As you can see, Parrino had shown more power, and had a higher on-base percentage, while striking out less, something the Padres are emphasizing this year. While both looked solid defensively, a back-up typically is not supposed to win you games, but rather not lose them. Parrino was a very difficult choice for management, but maybe the right one considering all the intangibles.
Owings, who was signed in the offseason as one of Josh Byrnes’ guys, did not have an impressive spring, but he had an excellent 2011. Last year, Owings went 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA with the Diamondbacks. This spring, he went 0-1 with a mediocre 7.61 ERA. Having said that, spring training stats are often irrelevant to lock players, or players with a leg up, and that was Owings’ case. Not to mention how important it is to have a true long-relief guy. It’s worth mentioning that if the Padres are not in need of a long-man in relief (in a blowout), Owings, in a pinch (literally), can be an extra bat off the bench. Bass and Brach figure to have more important roles in the bullpen this year. Not to say Owings’ role as a mop-up guy isn’t important, but both Bass and Brach can be shut-down relief pitchers.
Bass impressed the coaching staff with a sterling spring, going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. In February, I made a case for Bass making the team over other possible relief candidates. Bass made the final roster spot to no one’s surprise. Look for him to be an important piece coming out of the pen, and we will probably see him spot start this year, like we did with grooming pitchers in years past such as, Tim Stauffer and Cory Luebke.
Brach was optioned to the minors, but not without making a major mark. He looked fantastic, going 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA while racking up the strikeouts. Brach will be a very important piece at some point this year, sooner than later.
The outfield spots were a little more dicey, but not because of performance or preference. Kyle Blanks was the favorite to benefit from Carlos Quentin‘s knee injury. However, he was nursing a shoulder issue and not getting many reps in spring. Promptly on his return, he made his presence felt, going 7-for-10. Blanks finished spring hitting .324/.390/.495 with 2 2B and 1 HR in 37 AB. The only question with Blanks was his health, and he’s looking good.
With the veteran free-agent signing of Mark Kotsay, the Padres had their clubhouse guy and left-handed bat off the bench all in one. However, within the last week and a half or so, Kotsay pulled up with a strained calf muscle. So, suffice it to say, with opening day close, the question aroused is who would take his place on the bench? There’s not too many options that fit the left-handed-bat role in the organization. I had speculated days ago the Padres may go with Jeremy Hermida, who was with the club in partial duty last year. He had a very strong spring, hitting .313/.411/.646 with 4 2B, 4 HR with 9 RBI. He will indeed get the nod for opening day, and deservedly so.
The Padres 25-man roster: