Non-Roster Invites (NRIs) usually come in two flavors. One is the veteran who signed with the team in hopes that they can somehow make the roster at some point, but have agreed to go to the minors if they do not. The other is the young player that is expected to make the roster in the next couple of years. The team invites these players to train alongside those already on the 40 man roster, as both a form of competition and a chance to learn from each other. Here are the players that have been invited:
Blaine Boyer - Pitched in the big leagues in 7 different seasons. The right hander was last with the Mets in 2011. Signed to work middle relief in El Paso, but could be an emergency option for the Padres later in the season if both he does well and injuries arise.
Leonel Campos - A rising star, so to speak, in the Padres organization. His high K rates and domination of opposing hitters last season put him on the fast track to become a late innings reliever. He'll get to show his stuff against the big boys in February and March.
Anthony Carter - A minor league veteran right hander that was in the White Sox organization for 7 years never making a major league debut. Last year he bounced to the Red Sox. Another middle reliever ticketed for El Paso.
Dennis O'Grady - A 34th round pick by the Padres in 2011, he was a workhorse out of the pen for the Lake Elsinore Storm last season. Likely headed to San Antonio, but the Padres want to take a look in case they need someone who can eat some middle relief innings down the road.
Adys Portillo - Portillo was roster invite last year, but was designated for assignment this offseason. He went unclaimed off waivers and is back with the Padres. He still has plenty of talent and the team will want the coaches to work again with him to harness that.
Kevin Quackenbush - Quackenbush as a NRI last year as well. He finished 2013 in AAA, so he's closer than ever to getting a shot at the big league pen. He still has something to prove at El Paso, but the team wants him working with the big leaguers in order to make sure he's ready when he gets his chance.
Joe Ross - Tyson Ross' brother is a surprise invitee. He's a quality prospect and first round pick, but has never pitched above Low A ball. However, like with Austin Hedges last year, the team is giving Ross an early taste of life with the big leaguers.
Matt Wisler - No surprise here, the Padres top advanced pitching prospect was a no brainer for big league camp. His superb minor league performances and quick development curve seem to have him on track for the majors very soon. That being said, he's still just 21 years old and there's no rush. Hence why he's a non-rostered invitee instead of a rostered one.
Cody Decker - Decker's invitation is no surprise, but his listing as a catcher is a minor one. He started working as one last year and has high praise for now Tigers Manager, but former Padres instructor, Brad Ausmus most likely due to the work they did together. There are hits in his bat, but he needs a position where he can stick. Maybe this is it. Note: On this page he's listed as an infielder, not a catcher.
Austin Hedges - Hedges returns to big league camp as the Padres' most celebrated prospect. His defensive skills cause scouts to swoon and his major debut is inching ever closer. He'll get to know Padres pitchers and work with the coaching staff again this year.
Jonathan Galvez - With Logan Forsythe now traded, Galvez will get some long looks this Spring. He won't make the roster out of camp barring a cascade of injuries, but he could be on the verge a big league trial if the Padres are in need of extra infielder. Galvez has been with the Padres since he was 16 years old (he's now 23) and has shown flashes in the past that his bat could carry him as an infielder.
Alberto Gonzalez - Gonzalez returns to the Padres after two years bouncing from the Rangers to the Cubs to the Yankees organizations. The 30 year old has experience and versatility as a defender, but will be on the outside looking in when it comes to a roster spot. However, El Paso needs utility infielders too.
Xavier Nady - Like Gonzalez Nady is a former Padre, but it's been over 8 years since he called Petco Park home. His career as a major leaguer seems to be at an end, but he did play for the Nationals and Giants as recently as 2012. He feels he didn't get a fair shake last year after hitting well in AAA and comes to Peoria with something to prove. The Padres might go to him if Quentin and Blanks both were to get hurt again and be out a while.
Jace Peterson - Peterson has been named one of the Padres' top 10 prospects by multiple outlets. He's a shortstop, but could also project as a utility infielder. He's a speedster that should swipe a few bases in Peoria. His major league ETA is probably in 2015, but it's time to start getting him some work with the big leaguers.
Cory Spangenberg - A former first round pick, Spangenberg had some trouble living up to the hype last year. He's played mainly second base, but has experience at 3B and the speed to play OF so he might end up a utility player unless his bat comes around. The Padres will work with him this Spring and see what they have.
Alex Dickerson - Acquired in an offseason trade, Dickerson will get his first introduction to the Padres in their big league camp. He has played both 1B and RF, so expect to see him work at both spots, but also LF. He will get a chance to show off his lefty power stroke and audition for what could be a major league role as early as 2015.
Rico Noel - This speedster stole 90 bases in 2012, if you believe that. Was held to only 59 thefts in 2013 at San Antonio. Basically in the same spot as Spangenberg. Has played AA ball, but is not knocking at the major league door. Still has some things to prove, but there's enough talent here to think that he could be a big leaguer somewhat soon.
Daniel Robertson - Robertson has plied his trade at AAA for the last couple of seasons, but hasn't gotten a major league sniff yet. He'll be 28 this season, but the Padres haven't taken their eye off of him. He has been a good, scrappy top-of-the-lineup hitter those past two seasons and might be able to progress to a major league 4th or 5th outfielder in the right situation. For now he's headed to El Paso, but don't count out his chances to one day make it to the show.