The Padres' 18 Man Pitching Staff

USA TODAY Sports

The Padres are getting maximum flexibility out of the pitchers they have on their 40 man roster.

There are 25 players on an active major league roster. It does not seem that longer that teams routinely would have only 11 pitchers on that roster. Since then it has grown to a standard of 12. 5 starters and 7 relievers. Sometimes a team will go with 13 pitchers to get them through a tough stretch. Rarely a 14 man pitching staff rears its ugly head for a bit, which severely limits a manager's bench options. The Padres are currently carrying 12 pitchers on their roster and have at times utilized a 13 man one, but I argue the pitching staff is really much bigger.

The 40 man roster included 15 players who are in AA, AAA or on the DL. Nine of those are pitchers pitchers. One is Clayton Richard, who is on the DL, two are Latin American players who are only on the roster for Rule 5 protection purposes. The other 6 are basically part of the pitching stuff. Those 6 are: Anthony Bass, Brad Boxberger, Robbie Erlin. Tommy Layne, Tyson Ross, and Burch Smith. Ross was recently moved from the 25 man to the 40 man when he was swapped with Miles Mikolas. This is Mikolas' second stint this season on the big league club. It is Ross' second stint in AAA. Bass has played both on the major league team and in the minors. So has Boxberger, who has been called up to the Padres twice. As has Erlin. Same with Layne and Smith. On the major league roster Nick Vincent, Brad Brach and Tim Stauffer have spent time on both the San Diego and Tuscon Padres.

This gives the Padres effectively an 18 man pitching staff. When the bullpen is getting tired, somebody with options is sent down and somebody else is called up. The rules do not allow anyone who has been sent down in the last 10 days to be called up again (unless an injury replacement is needed) so most teams cannot implement a system flexible shuttling system. However with 6 different players in AAA to pick from, the Padres can just pick a guy who has not been called up in a while. This would be a big deal if there was a large discrepancy in talent or experience between each of these players, but that is not the case. Most of these players are similarly talented and haven less that 2 full years of experience. It is not the most effective system, but it certainly is a flexible one. It also has the added benefit of getting a lot of young guys some tastes of the major leagues.

One more thing. On Saturday the team will need a new 5th starter and having sent Robbie Erlin, Burch Smith and Tyson Ross down a within the last week, the rules keep them from recalling any of them to fill that void. What is suspected is that Sean O'Sullivan will fill that void after being added to the 40 man and 25 man rosters. Somebody will get sent back down (like Brad Brach or Miles Mikolas) and most likely Clayton Richard will go on the 60 day DL. If that happens, it will be a 19 man pitch staff. Crazy.

For fun, here's a list of all the transactions the Padres have made this season that involved pitchers:

  • 4/12/2013: selected the contract of Thad Weber from Tucson Padres.
  • 4/14/2013: optioned RHP Thad Weber to Tucson Padres.
  • 4/20/2013: placed RHP Tyson Ross on the 15-day disabled list, recalled Thad Weber from Tucson Padres.
  • 4/24/2013: optioned RHP Thad Weber to Tucson Padres, selected the contract of Robbie Erlin from Tucson Padres.
  • 5/2/2013: optioned LHP Robbie Erlin to Tucson Padres, recalled Brad Boxberger from Tucson Padres.
  • 5/5/2013: placed LHP Clayton Richard on the 15-day disabled list, activated RHP Tyson Ross from the 15-day disabled list.
  • 5/11/2013: optioned RHP Brad Boxberger to Tucson Padres, selected the contract of Burch Smith from San Antonio Missions.
  • 5/17/2013: designated RHP Thad Weber for assignment, selected the contract of Tim Stauffer from Tucson Padres.
  • 5/18/2013: optioned RHP Brad Brach to Tucson Padres.
  • 5/23/2013: optioned RHP Burch Smith to Tucson Padres.
  • 5/24/2013: recalled Tommy Layne from Tucson Padres.
  • 5/27/2013: optioned LHP Tommy Layne to Tucson Padres, activated LHP Clayton Richard from the 15-day disabled list.
  • 5/30/2013: optioned RHP Anthony Bass to Tucson Padres, recalled Nick Vincent from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/1/2013: placed RHP Huston Street on the 15-day disabled list, optioned RHP Nick Vincent to Tucson Padres, recalled Tommy Layne from Tucson Padres, recalled Robbie Erlin from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/2/2013: optioned LHP Robbie Erlin to Tucson Padres, recalled Brad Boxberger from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/8/2013: optioned RHP Brad Boxberger to Tucson Padres, recalled Burch Smith from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/11/2013: optioned RHP Burch Smith to Tucson Padres, recalled Nick Vincent from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/14/2013: optioned LHP Tommy Layne to Tucson Padres, activated RHP Huston Street from the 15-day disabled list.
  • 6/22/2013: placed LHP Clayton Richard on the 15-day disabled list, recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from Tucson Padres, recalled RHP Anthony Bass from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/23/2013: optioned Anthony Bass to Tucson Padres, optioned Brad Boxberger to Tucson Padres, recalled Brad Brach from Tucson Padres, recalled Miles Mikolas from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/24/2013: optioned RHP Miles Mikolas to Tucson Padres, recalled LHP Tommy Layne from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/26/2013: optioned RHP Brad Brach to Tucson Padres, recalled LHP Robbie Erlin from Tucson Padres.
  • 6/28/2013: optioned Tommy Layne to Tucson Padres, recalled RHP Burch Smith from Tucson Padres.
  • 7/5/2013: optioned Burch Smith to Tucson Padres.
  • 7/8/2013: optioned Robbie Erlin to Tucson Padres, recalled Brad Brach from Tucson Padres.
  • 7/9/2013: optioned Tyson Ross to Tucson Padres, recalled Miles Mikolas from Tucson Padres.
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