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A Call To Arms

Who Makes The Padres Rotation

February 12, 2018
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By CHRIS ELLO, Monday, February 12, 2018

MLB.com has a “burning question” for each of baseball’s 30 teams. For the Padres, it’s “Who rises to the top in the rotation?”

 

It’s a pretty fair inquiry. And with pitchers and catchers due to report to Peoria the middle of this week, it’s a question that currently has no answer. There are not a lot of rock-solid, take-it-to-the-bank candidates to choose from, either.

 

Manager Andy Green, getting set for his third season, said in the newspaper Sunday that two pitchers already have locked down a spot in this year’s starting rotation.

 

Here they are: Clayton Richard and Bryan Mitchell. Neither name should get Padre fans dreaming about chilly, prime time games being played at Petco Park late into October.

 

Richard, a lefty, tied for the National League lead in losses last year. His 15 in that category put him alongside the Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood and two Giants, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore, for that dubious honor. Richard won only eight times, and only once all season on the road.

 

Mitchell, mostly a right-handed reliever, is even more sketchy. Acquired along with Chase Headley, who was salary dumped by the Yankees, in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash, Mitchell has started only nine games over parts of four big league seasons. He started only one game last season, and his career numbers read: two wins, six losses and 4.94 ERA.

 

So that’s the top of the rotation at the moment. Pretty obvious that somebody must rise.

 

Thus, the original question.

 

The Padres top two starters last season, at least according to the numbers, were Trevor Cahill (4-3, 3.69) and Jhoulys Chacin (13-10, 3.89). Both have departed, Cahill going to Kansas City at midseason last year and Chacin signing as a free agent with Milwaukee this past off-season.

 

That leaves 25-year-old sophomore Dinelson Lamet (an inconsistent 7-8, 4.57 last season) and Luis Perdomo (the former Rule 5 pick who surprised a bit with an 8-11, 4.67 mark) as holdovers. However, neither of these righties appear destined for top-of-the-rotation status. Neither had a winning record, obviously, and neither had an ERA under 4.00, even when they pitched at Petco Park.

 

So next we look a couple of guys who used to be good, but haven’t done much lately. Tyson Ross, Chris Young and Jordan Lyles all were signed to minor league deals. Or we look at a few guys coming off injuries – Robbie Erlin, Colin Rea and Matt Strahm. Excited yet?

 

Maybe it can be an up-and-coming prospect like Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi or Jacob Nix.

 

One thing’s for sure. The starting pitching is going to have to be far better than it was last year if the Padres are even going to think about contending in the stacked NL West. In 2017, San Diego starters were a combined 45-62 with a 4.83 ERA. Only the never-in-contention Marlins, Mets and Reds were worse.

 

The question lingers. And it needs an answer.