The Padres have reportedly signed Micah Owings to a major-league deal according to Ken Rosenthal. It was first reported by Dan Hayes of the North County Times as a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
A few things came to mind when I initially heard about the deal. The first and most obvious: Would Owings compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with Dustin Moseley and Anthony Bass, or just slide right into the swing-man spot? Also, I wondered with Moseley’s recent raise in arbitration, (from $0.9MM in 2011 to $2.0125MM) along with his dislocated non-throwing arm issues, would the Padres trade him to make room for Owings, Bass and other top prospects?
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I can’t imagine the Padres not being somewhat concerned with Moseley hitting every start in the National League given his shoulder questions (he dislocated it twice last season). Having said that, maybe it means Bass or Owings would get a crack at the fifth spot in the rotation. In that case, Moseley would come out of the pen and wouldn’t have to bat. The free-agent pitching market this late in the offseason is bleak, so I could see many American League teams being interested in Moseley.
It’s hard to imagine Moseley being skipped over solely due to his performance. However, it could make sense to have Bass get more seasoning out of the bullpen and Moseley prove his health coming out of the pen. Then again, with Moseley’s raise, that’s one pricey swing man.
Either way, I like the signing of Owings. He can start, be the swing man out of the pen in long relief or even be an extra bat off the bench in late-inning games. Something the Padres in the NL West, and PETCO Park are accustom to.
Owings was 8-0 last year with Arizona, posting a 3.57 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 in 63 innings. Owings is a fastball, slider, change-up pitcher. His fastball tops out around 92 mph. He has a three-quarter delivery with some deception. His fastball has run, working from the first base side of the mound. He is not overpowering by any means, but should be a valuable asset, and he can absolutely rake at the plate. Over five seasons, he has an impressive .286/.313/.507 line. In 2007, he hit.333/.349/.683 with 4 HR and 15 RBIs in 60 ABs. He has been used as a pinch-hitter off the bench, and deservedly so. He’s a beast.
It maybe a stretch to assume such a signing could be precursor to another deal, but I believe the questions are valid given Moseley’s health concerns (even with him getting off-season surgery to avoid further issues) and Bass’s inexperience.