Chris Paddack Is Driven To Succeed
The Padres closed 2018 by trading veteran Clayton Richard to the Blue Jays for minor league outfielder Connor Panas, further proof that the organization will lean on homegrown arms for the bulk of its starts in 2019.
While A.J. Preller remains on the lookout for a proven commodity—most likely on the trade market—the fourth-year general manager outlined plans for the rotation upon designating Richard for assignment in December as Ian Kinsler joined the roster.
"We expect this group to grow, with another group coming in behind them,” Preller told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The initial group in 2018 was led by lefthander Joey Lucchesi, who finished his rookie campaign with 26 starts, one off Richard’s team lead. Lucchesi finished August with a 3.59 ERA before slowing in the final month. Fellow rookie southpaw Eric Lauer finished his 23-game debut with a 1.07 ERA over his last five turns, presumably giving both a leg up in a rotation free-for-all this spring.
That competition will include Bryan Mitchell, Robbie Erlin, Luis Perdomo and rookies Jacob Nix and Brett Kennedy, though the name to keep an eye this spring is one of the newest additions to the 40-man roster: Chris Paddack.
The 6-foot-4 Texas high school righthander struck out 120 batters in 90 minor league innings while recording a 2.10 ERA in 17 starts, which included a second-half run at Double-A San Antonio. Paddack, who missed 22 months while recovering from Tommy John surgery, spent time this offseason getting used to his future home in San Diego.
Padres manager Andy Green came away impressed with the 23-year-old Paddack.
"It's really nice to see a young pitcher as motivated as him, as driven as him,” Green said at the Winter Meetings, "and someone who is thinking through all the obstacles he's going to see when he puts a major league uniform on for the first time.”
One obstacle for the Padres is blueprinting a plan to increase Paddack’s workload. He doubled his previous innings total in 2018 and has thrown just 178 in four pro seasons, making him a long shot to open the season in the majors unless it’s in some sort hybrid role.
Pitchers and catchers report to the big league camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 13. The first full workout is scheduled for Feb. 18.
Padres Will Commit Resources To Improve
Whether by trading prospects or making use of payroll flexibility—or both—the Padres intend to improve their club in 2019.
— A little more than a month after electing free agency following an outright assignment to Triple-A El Paso, outfielder Alex Dickerson rejoined the Padres on a minor league deal. He is a non-roster invitee to big league camp, along with first basemen Allen Craig and Aderlin Rodriguez, lefties Ryan Bollinger and Dietrich Enns, righty Tyler Higgins, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo.
The Padres have yet to announce which players from their farm system will be invited to spring training.