Padres' Tom Cosgrove Eyes A Spot In Big League Bullpen
The early weeks of Tom Cosgrove’s offseason coincided with the Padres’ first playoff run in front of fans since 2006. The 27-year-old lefthander didn’t have tickets, but he happened to be in San Diego after finishing the season at Triple-A El Paso.
Cosgrove walked away from the Gaslamp district that night as intent as ever on pitching for the team that drafted him in the 12th round out of Manhattan College in 2017.
“The whole downtown was nuts,” Cosgrove said. “After seeing that, I wanted to pitch for San Diego for sure.”
Cosgrove is a step closer now after the Padres added the reliever to the 40-man roster on Nov. 15. He was certainly in the mix for a big league job down the stretch as he was capping a season in which he posted a 3.72 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 55.2 innings and struck out a career-best 13.3 batters per nine innings.
Those numbers are more impressive than they look. He spent about half the season in the high-scoring Pacific Coast League.
Cosgrove put himself on the big league staff’s radar after dropping his arm slot to three-quarters. The change, suggested late in spring training by new director of pitching development Rob Marcello, led to Cosgrove morphing what had been a hammer curveball into a slider thrown off a 93-94 mph fastball.
While Cosgrove stumbled initially, he quickly righted the ship and held opposing hitters to a .174 average. He was especially tough on lefthanded hitters, limiting them to a .136/.240/.273 batting line over 100 plate appearances.
Cosgrove will compete for an MLB bullpen spot next spring, his first in big league camp after a long and winding road to this point.
“But the job isn’t done,” Cosgrove said. “I still need to make the team. The goal wasn’t to get added to the 40-man roster. The goal is to pitch in the majors.”
— A year after adding righthander Efrain Contreras to the 40-man roster, the 22-year-old Mexico native was non-tendered at the Nov. 15 deadline. He posted a 5.74 ERA in 53.1 innings in 2022 at High-A Fort Wayne, his first year off Tommy John surgery. Contreras showed well in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 2.45 ERA over 18.1 innings, and is a candidate to remain in the organization on a minor league deal, a la lefthanded reliever Jose Castillo one offseason ago.