Today marked the official start of Padres Spring Training as pitchers and catchers (and some eager position players) reported to Peoria this morning. Workouts begin tomorrow and the full Padres squad will be in Arizona by next Tuesday, and after more than four months since Closing Day 2015 the anticipation is palpable. The 2016 season seems to be up in the air for the Padres, with a lot of unknowns going into Spring Training, but hopefully the next six weeks will answer some questions and give us reasons to be optimistic going forward.
Here's our official guide to Padres Spring Training.
Where can I see the Padres play?
The Padres' Spring Training facility is located in Peoria, Arizona. They share a field at Peoria Sports Complex with the Seattle Mariners. For more information about Peoria and the surrounding areas (lodging, amenities, tickets, transportation, etc.), check out kevintheoman's Spring Training Guide fanpost. There are some helpful tips in the comments there as well!
Important dates to know
February 18 - Pitchers and catchers report
February 19 - First pitchers and catchers workout
February 23 - Full squad reports
February 24 - First full squad workout
March 2 - First Spring Training game (charity game against Mariners) in Peoria, AZ
March 26-27 - Exhibition series (split squad) against Astros in Mexico City, Mexico
March 31 - Exhibition game against El Paso Chihuahuas in El Paso, TX
April 1-2 - Padres FanFest and exhibition series against White Sox at Petco Park
April 4 - Padres regular season Opening Day against Dodgers at Petco Park
Positional battles to watch
The Padres look set at RF, 1B, SS, 3B, C and the first three starters in the rotation, but battles exist everywhere else.
With Jedd Gyorko dealt and Yangervis Solarte set at 3B, it would seem that the position will fall to Cory Spangenberg. That's probably true, but a sophomore slump could open the door to a couple candidates the Padres brought in during the offseason. The first is Jose Pirela, formerly of the Yankees, who is looking to at least be a backup at a couple positions, but has an outside chance at the 2B job. Carlos Asuaje was acquired in the Kimbrel trade and may be a year away from making the big league roster, but you never know.
Someone will have to fill the shoes of Justin Upton at least when it comes to manning his spot in the field. Veteran Jon Jay was acquired in the Jedd Gyorko trade and looks to be the favorite. The Padres also have youngsters Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski and Rule 5 pick Jabari Blash who are looking to establish themselves as a longer term option in the OF.
This battle is tied to LF. Melvin Upton Jr. is basically the incumbent at the position, but he could be platooned with Jankowski. Alternatively, if someone like Blash or Dickerson wins the LF job then perhaps Jay would play CF as part of a platoon or win the job outright as he was mainly as CF with the Cardinals.
Austin Hedges spent a lot of time in the backup role behind the dish last year and earned high praise for his defense and gamecalling skills, but his bat could use some more seasoning in the minors. The Padres brought in former Braves prospect Christian Bethancourt to potentially backup Derek Norris and allow Hedges to work on his hitting skills.
James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner have the first 3 spots in the rotation all locked, but the remaining 2 spots are fully up for grabs. Brandon Maurer is converting from reliever to starter and putting his hat in the ring. Colin Rea is looking to build on his 2015 debut and become a rotation fixture. Brandon Morrow signed a minor league deal and looks to reclaim a rotation spot he lost last year due to injury. Former prospect Robbie Erlin, free agent signing Carlos Villanueva, Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo and trade acquisition Drew Pomeranz also will draw consideration.
The Entire Bullpen
Backend fixtures Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit were traded in the offseason and have left the bullpen in flux. Even Maurer has potentially moved on to the rotation. The Padres did sign former Mariners and Rays closer Fernando Rodney to potentially pitch the 9th inning. The other jobs could realistically go to anybody. Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush and Jon Edwards return and will each try to nail down key roles. Villanueva, Pomeranz and possibly Perdomo and Erlin could also go to the 'pen if their bids to start fall short. The Padres are also trying to find some diamonds in the rough and have brought in some unproven arms with potential in left handers Buddy Baumann, Ryan Buchter and Jose Torres, former Yankees prospect Cesar Vargas, and Rule 5 picks Josh Martin and Blake Smith.
How to watch and listen to the Padres in Spring Training
Almost every Spring Training Game (save for some split squad matches) will be broadcast either on the radio or TV. Ten games will be available via audio online at MLB.com. Last month, Fox Sports San Diego announced they will be broadcasting ten games on TV during Spring Training, including the Padres' exhibition game against their Triple-A affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas, on March 31st.
|3/2/2016||@ Mariners||Peoria||12:10 pm||ESPN 1700|
|3/3/2016||vs. Mariners||Peoria||12:10 pm||ESPN 1700|
|3/4/2016||vs. Royals||Peoria||6:10 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/5/2016||@ Rockies||Scottsdale||12:10 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|3/6/2016||SS @ White Sox||Glendale||12:05 pm|
|3/6/2016||SS vs. Athletics||Peoria||12:10 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/7/2016||@ Brewers||Maryvale||12:05 pm||MLB.com|
|3/8/2016||vs. Diamondbacks||Peoria||12:10 pm||MLB.com|
|3/9/2016||@ Diamondbacks||Scottsdale||12:10 pm||MLB.com|
|3/10/2016||@ Indians||Goodyear||12:05 pm||MLB.com|
|3/11/2016||vs. White Sox||Peoria||12:10 pm||FSSD|
|3/12/2016||vs. Indians||Peoria||1:30 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/13/2016||@ Giants||Scottsdale||3:05 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|3/14/2016||@ Cubs||Mesa||1:05 pm||MLB.com|
|3/15/2016||vs. Cubs||Peoria||1:10 pm||FSSD|
|3/17/2016||vs. Giants||Peoria||7:10 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/18/2016||@ Giants||Scottsdale||7:05 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|3/19/2016||vs. Rockies||Peoria||1:10 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/20/2016||@ Dodgers||Glendale||1:05 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|3/21/2016||vs. Reds||Peoria||7:10 pm||FSSD|
|3/22/2016||vs. Rangers||Peoria||1:10 pm||FSSD|
|3/23/2016||@ White Sox||Glendale||1:05 pm||MLB.com|
|3/24/2016||vs. Diamondbacks||Peoria||1:10 pm||MLB.com|
|3/25/2016||@ Rangers||Surprise||6:05 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|3/26/2016||SS vs. Astros||Mexico City||TBD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/26/2016||SS @ Angels||Tempe||1:10 pm|
|3/27/2016||SS vs. Astros||Mexico City||TBD||The Mighty 1090|
|3/27/2016||SS vs. Angels||Peoria||1:10 pm|
|3/28/2016||@ Royals||Surprise||1:05 pm||MLB.com|
|3/29/2016||vs. Dodgers||Peoria||1:10 pm||MLB.com|
|3/30/2016||@ Mariners||Peoria||12:10 pm||MLB.com|
|3/31/2016||@ Chihuahuas||El Paso||5:35 pm||FSSD||The Mighty 1090|
|4/1/2016||vs. White Sox||San Diego||7:10 pm||The Mighty 1090|
|4/2/2016||vs. White Sox||San Diego||1:10 pm||The Mighty 1090|
Instead of just showing you the 59 players on the Padres' Spring Training roster, we'll give you a chance to take our Padres Spring Training Roster Quiz.