Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Offseason Plan For The San Diego Padres: Part 2 -- 40-man roster

Last week, I took a look at the payroll flexibility that the Padres would have to pursue upgrades for the 2014 season. Today, I want to dive in to the 40-man roster decisions. Part 3 will deal with prospects the Padres will protect in the Rule V draft.

As of now, the Padres 40-man roster is completely full. After reinstating injured players such as Yasmani Grandal, Cory Luebke and Casey Kelly, the team will need to move a few players off the roster to protect prospects who could be snagged in the Rule V draft. Last year, the Padres lost first baseman Nate Freiman, who was selected by Houston. He finished the year with Oakland. Let's take a deeper look into the Padres 40-man roster situation.

Locks to be included on the 40-man roster: Andrew Cashner, Robbie Erlin, Luke Gregerson, Casey Kelly, Ian Kennedy, Cory Luebke, Tyson Ross, Burch Smith, Huston Street, Eric Stults, Dale Thayer, Nick Vincent, Joe Wieland, Yasmani Grandal, Nick Hundley, Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera, Jedd Gyorko, Logan Forsythe, Chase Headley, Tommy Medica, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, Rymer Liriano, Cameron Maybin, Reymond Fuentes, Alexi Amarista.

By my estimation, the Padres have 28 players that will not be moved off of the roster. Some are prospects, while others are key pieces to the Padres core. That leaves 12 players who I consider to be on the 40-man bubble.

Players who could be moved off of the 40-man: Anthony Bass, Brad Brach, Miles Mikolas, Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, Jaff Decker, Yeison Asencio, Rene Rivera, Brad Boxberger, Adys Portillo, Tim Stauffer.

Predictions on bubble players:

Anthony Bass: Bass was pretty awful in 2012, posting a 5.36 ERA in 24 games out of the pen. Bass showed a lot of promise as a starter in 2011 and is still young and cost controlled. Prediction: Padres keep him.

Brad Boxberger: When the Padres acquired him as part of the Mat Latos deal, he was hailed as the Padres future closer. He hasn't been too impressive, as he walks far too many hitters(5.3 per 9 innings). However, he does miss bats and is still only 25. Prediction: Padres keep him.

Brad Brach: I really thought Brach was gonna be an important cog in the Padres bullpen. Instead, he was miserable for the Padres, as he posted a WHIP of 1.77. He still can miss bats(averaged a strikeout an inning) but he allowed opposing hitters to hit nearly .300 off him. Prediction: Padres keep him. 

Miles Mikolas: Mikolas only appeared in 2 games for the Padres in 2013. He put up decent numbers for AAA Tucson. However, he seems expendable. Prediction: Padres DFA Mikolas.

Kyle Blanks: Blanks is set to be arbitration-eligible this winter. He probably won't command more than $1 million. He showed flashes of brilliance, however injuries continue to plague Kyle. He seems expendable to me, as he could be a good fit in Tampa. Prediction: Padres trade Blanks. 

Jesus Guzman: Guzman is eligible for arbitration for the first time. He has regressed each year, since a robust rookie campaign. He has value as a bench bat, so I fully expect Guzman to be around in 2014. Prediction: Padres keep Guzman. 

Jaff Decker: Decker has always been a top prospect for the Padres. Prior to the 2010 season, he cracked Baseball America's Top 100 list. He had a decent year for AAA Tucson, but failed to impress in a short stint with the big club. With a 40-man crunch, I can see the Padres removing him from the 40-man, in hopes he clears waivers. Prediction: DFA'ed, clears waivers. 

Yeison Asencio: The Padres added Asencio to the 40-man after he won a batting title with Fort Wayne in 2012. In 2013, he posted a mediocre slash-line of .277/.307/.401, with A+ Lake Elsinore and AA San Antonio. He will be 24 when the season starts. His lack of power makes him expendable. Prediction: DFA'ed. 

Rene Rivera: Rivera did a nice job for the Padres, as a backup to Nick Hundley, after Yasmani Grandal went down with a season-ending knee injury. Rivera didn't hit much, but he seemed to handle the pitching staff well. He deserves a shot to stick around. Prediction: Padres keep him on the 40-man roster. 

Adys Portillo: Portillo is the recipient of one of the biggest bonuses the Padres have handed out to an amateur ($2 million in 2008). He had an injury-plagued season in 2013, starting just 3 games for Fort Wayne. He has promise, but has struggled with control. He will probably hang around. Prediction: Padres keep him on the 40-man roster. 

Tim Stauffer: I have always been a big Stauffer guy. He has overcome some serious adversity in his career and 2013 was no exception. Just two years ago, he was starting for the Padres on Opening Day. In 2013, he found himself in AAA, attempting to restart his career. He did a nice job in 2013 for the Padres as a swingman. The Padres will tender Stauffer a contract for 2014. Prediction: Padres keep Stauffer on the 40-man roster. 

My predictions have cleared 3 spots on the 40-man roster, so the Padres would have some decisions to make, in terms of what prospects to protect. I will go in depth in Part 3 of the Offseason Plan for the San Diego Padres