The last few years it seems that around this time we have had to discuss a roster crunch. This year it is quite the opposite. When a team doesn't have a lot of free agents and does have a lot of guys who were on the 60 day DL this can be crunch time. Teams need to put those 60 day DL guys back on the 40 man roster and at the same time add minor leaguers they would like to protect from the Rule 5 draft. This year many of the guys the Padres had on the 60 day DL were also free agents and they had a number of free agents along with a couple of trades, so no crunch.
Eight Padres became free agents earlier this month. That became the roster trimming. Then the Padres outrighted Cody Decker off the roster. Cory Mazzoni and Yonder Alonso were activated off the 60 day DL. The Padres then made one addition by trading for INF Jose Pirela. The Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel trades created even more space since they returned no players that initially needed to be on the 40 man roster.
That brings us to today's moves:
- The Padres claimed C Josmil Pinto off of waivers from the Minnesota twins. Pinto played with the Twins in 2013 and 2014 and adds depth to the catcher position that was so thin last year that Austin Hedges had to be rushed to the majors.
- The Padres signed RHP Cesar Vargas to a major league deal for 2016. Vargas has only ever played in the minor leagues and normally that doesn't get you a major league deal, but the Padres decided to trump all other offers and use their extra 40 man space to secure the promise reliever.
- The Padres purchased the contracts of OF Manuel Margot and SS Jose Rondon. Margot was recently acquired in the Kimbrel trade and Rondon was part of the 2014 Huston Street trade to the Angels. Both are being added so that they are protected from the Rule 5 draft. According to the San Diego Union Tribune's Dennis Lin this means that RHP Justin Hancock (2011 9th round pick) and RHP Rafael De Paula (acquired from the Yankees in the Chase Headley deal) will go unprotected.
The Padres now have 39 players on their 40 man roster. That means that they can add one player via free agency without a corresponding move to free up. I am willing to bet they acquire more than one more player this offseason, but that just means the corresponding moves will add some intrigue to such trades and/or signings.