Not only did Liz Radhames, a 26-year-old Dominican, put the Padres' roster at 40, he gave them their 27th pitcher. That's right. Nearly three-quarters of the Padres' roster is dedicated to one position. While the Padres are carrying more pitchers than any other mlb team, there are a few other teams that are also pitcher-heavy: the Nats, 26; Jays, 25; and Yankees, 24. The Giants, 16, are carrying the fewest pitchers, and the mlb average is 20.5.
As it stands now, the Padres are ineligible to participate in Friday's draft of unprotected minor-leaguers. Only teams that have space on their 40-man rosters may participate, and the Padres topped themselves off a week-and-a-half ago when they claimed some guy named Liz off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles -- a guy named Liz with a 7.50 career ERA. Yikes. Perhaps Rule 5 participation is now considered a form of dumpster-diving that has no place in an organization that thinks strategically.
Unless the Padres do some paring before Friday's draft, they will not be able to take a chance on one of a couple players who might be able to fill one of a few holes that a team with 27 pitchers is bound to have.
One of those holes is a pit. The Padres have only one catcher, Nick Hundley, whom Jake Peavy refused to throw to last year. But Hundley's game-handling skills are not his only weakness. Now that Brian Giles is gone, Hundley's career .238 average is the lineup's most glaring weakness -- if you don't count Kevin Kouzmanoff's April, May and June at-bats.
The Padres' 40-man roster also shows the club's lingering refusal to own up to poor draft selections. Second baseman Matt Antonelli, who has been unable to hit triple-A pitching for the past two seasons, is taking up space on the roster. The Padres grabbed him with the 17th overall pick in 2006.
I suggest a trade of sorts. Get rid of Antonelli and take a shot at a catcher available in the Rule 5 draft. Robinson Chirinos is a skinny kid from Venezuela whom the Cubs did not bother to protect. Well, not much of a kid; he'll turn 26 during the upcoming season. Last summer, in 227 at-bats with the Daytona Cubs of the high single-A Florida State League, Chirinos came through with a .400 OBP. He has a similar percentage so far this winter in the Venezuelan league -- and seven HRs -- in 116 at-bats. All along, he has kept his strikeouts to a minimum.
Or take a chance on another second baseman from the South Atlantic League (Last December, the Padres plucked Everth Cabrera out of the same league, then put him at shortstop). Harold Garcia appears to have similar attributes to Cabrera. He's from Latin America. He is 23 and under 6-feet tall. And the skill sets seem to be similar: Garcia is fast; he had 42 stolen bases last year, though he was caught 12 times. His Sally numbers were better than Cabrera's had been. He averaged .291 (Cabrera was around .280) and had an OBP of .350. But also like Cabrera in the year before he jumped to the majors, Garcia struck out a ton last summer -- 100 times to 29 walks. Very Kouzmanoffian.
As it stands now, the Padres will leave it to other teams to find this year's Everth Cabrera.