It's still early in Spring Training, but it's never too early to make some guesses and assumptions about who will be on the 25 man roster come Opening Day. For those of you just dipping your toes into 25 man roster logistics, the modern roster typically contains 13 position players and 12 pitchers. The real Opening Day roster will have the added, uh, flexibility of the the 15 day DL, but for our purposes we'll knock on wood and assume everyone gets or stays healthy during Spring Training. I'm going to divide this up into categories regarding who will be on the 25-man roster: Locks, Pretty Likely, Somewhat Likely and Bubble.
The easiest locks on the team come from the big 3 in the starting rotation:
SP Tyson Ross (already named Opening Day starter)
SP James Shields
SP Andrew Cashner
The next easiest are the guys with big salaries that the Padres are stuck with:
OF Matt Kemp
OF Melvin Upton
OF John Jay
SS Alexei Ramirez
Next, we get to the guys the offense is counting on in 2016:
C Derek Norris
1B Wil Myers
3B Yangervis Solarte
Then we get to the veteran bullpen guys:
CL Fernando Rodney
P Carlos Villaneuva
And finally, some other key arms:
P Brandon Maurer
P Drew Pomeranz
Pretty Likely (6)
2B Cory Spangenberg - The semi-incumbent 2B still has options and has a little bit of competition, but he is probably as close to a lock as you can get.
RP Kevin Quackenbush - Like Spang, Quack has options and we saw last year than when the team experienced a roster crunch on Opening Day it was the long-bearded reliever that drew the short straw. It could happen again.
C Christian Bethancourt - The recently acquired backstop is out of options and should probably be considered a lock, but he was acquired on the cheap and there is an outside chance that this could just be a flyer and a bad spring training could see him released or traded again.
RP Nick Vincent - Like Bethancourt, Vincent is out of options and I don't really know where the organization stands with him. I think he should be a lock, but with so many arms brought in this offseason I could see a scenario where they go with a lot of new blood and guys like Quackenbush and Vincent are found to be expendable.
PH Brett Wallace - I think Wallace impressed enough to be a LH bench bat for the club this year, but my reasoning here is that if you aren't a starter, then you aren't a lock.
OF Travis Jankowski - I'm not confident in this spot for Jankowski, but he can play all 3 OF positions and possibly platoon with Upton in CF. The likeliness of his spot will come down to if the Padres want to give one of their prospects the LF job. He does have options so the team could wait a little longer before making him a full time 4th OFer.
Somewhat Likely (3)
SP Colin Rea - If you read between the lines here, I'm basically projecting a Ross-Shields-Cashner-Maurer-Rea starting rotation. However, there's enough competition in camp that Rea has a decent chance of waiting in AAA for a bit to start the season.
UT Alexi Amarista - My gut tells me that the Padres have seen enough of Amarista and are ready to move on, but my head tells me that nothing has been said to this regard and he is basically the only backup SS that has a chance to make the opening day roster. There's no fallback here either since he's out of options and would need to be released if he doesn't make that roster.
RP Jon Edwards - I believe Edwards still has an option year and he has yet to really establish himself in the big leagues due to control problems. That being said he's a guy that GM A.J. Preller had with both the Rangers and now the Padres and I imagine he and others are high on him. A bad spring would easily see Edwards go to El Paso to work things out.
OF Jabari Blash - As constructed, this roster would have a lot of lefty bats that are either bench or platoon guys. I think in order to balance that, Blash would get the nod over Alex Dickerson. Dickerson could also beat out Jankowski and the same LH problem would exist. Blash is a Rule 5 pick and thereby the Padres need to have him on the roster to avoid sending him back to his former club. However, the Padres have way too many Rule 5 picks in camp to keep all of them, which leads one to believe that they aren't married to keeping any of them.
RP - Buddy Baumann - The last choice in the 'pen is going to be hard. By choosing Baumann the Padres would be sending 3 Rule 5 players back to their former clubs and Robbie Erlin would be exposed to waivers in order to get sent to the minors. I don't think they would keep Erlin as a long man in the 'pen since Pomeranz and Villanueva already fit that role, but I do think they would like another lefty. Baumann is indeed a lefty, but he comes with no previous major league experience. The lack of experience is a common theme among many of the candidates for the final 'pen spot, so it doesn't work too much against him.
There's your 25 complete with 13 position players and 12 pitchers as promised. You have 5 OFs, 2 Cs, your 4 starting INFs and 2 back up INFs that can cover all 4 positions between them. You also have 5 SPs, 1 CL, 2 long relievers, a LH RP and 3 other arms competing for the backend bullpen roles. The next few guys just off the bubble are:
Brandon Morrow - His current lack of a 40 man roster spot gives me doubts about him, although the departing Rule 5 guys would open up some spots should he have a strong Spring.
Robbie Erlin - As mentioned, I don't envision him in a bullpen role, but he could win a job in the rotation. Especially if injuries crop up.
Jose Pirela - The likely choice to fill a utility role should the Padres tire of Amarista.
Alex Dickerson - I also mentioned him earlier and he's the likely call up if an injury strikes an OF or if the team decides to let Jankowski start in AAA.
Josh Martin - A Rule 5 pick who could supplant one of the RH back-end-of-the-bullpen guys (Vincent, Edwards, Quackenbush).
Luis Perdomo - Another Rule 5 pick who maybe could sneak into either the rotation or a long relief role. The latter would probably require Villanueva to be needed in the back end of the 'pen.
Ryan Buchter - AA LH RP who could easily replace Baumann in my projection if Buchter can make a better impression over the next month or so.
Austin Hedges - If the Padres aren't happy with Bethancourt, then it'll be Hedges backing up Norris come Opening Day.