The deadline for MLB teams to set their rosters in preparation for the Rule 5 draft passed at 5pm tonight. That means that any players not “protected” on the 40-man roster (who also meet certain other criteria) are eligible to be selected by the other teams in the league with the requirement that they must retain those players on the active (aka 25-man) roster through the following season. Coming into today, the Padres had 38 players on their 40-man roster. With fringey players on the roster and a whole bunch of guys who would potentially be exposed to the draft, some roster moves were expected. Well, we got one!
The obvious question is: Who are Brad Wieck and Joe Castillo? Both are pitchers, and both came to the Padres as the unheralded parts (or “forgotten men”) of bigger trades.
- Brad Wieck was acquired from the New York Mets in 2015 as the “player to be named later” along with Cory Mazzoni for Alex Torres. Yes, the same Alex Torres who wore the Super Mario hat but couldn’t effectively get anyone out. In the two years since, he’s gone from a starter to a reliever and shot up the minor leagues. The 6’9” lefty has consistently racked up more than 10 K’s per nine innings pitched, mixing a mid-90’s fastball with sliders and curveballs in the dirt. The 26-year-old appears ready for a bullpen role, and he has the nasty stuff to become a dominant reliever.
- Jose Castillo was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in December of 2014 (remember Prellerpalooza?) along with Gerardo Reyes, Ryan Hannigan, and some guy named Wil Myers for Burch Smith, Jake Bauers, Rene Rivera, Joe Ross, and a PTBNL. Another lefty, the 6’4” Castillo was also converted to relief and has shown an ability to rack up the K’s. He made his way up to AA last year, so he may not be ready to crack the Opening Day Roster, but he’s talented enough to keep stashed away for another year.
With the 40-man roster set at the maximum, the following players are among the talent now on the block for December’s Rule 5 draft: Stephen McGee, Marcus Greene, Jr., Carlos Belen, Ruddy Giron, Nick Schulz, Nick Torres, Franmil Reyes, T.J. Weir, Adam Cimber, Eric Yardley, Colby Blueberg, Zech Lemond, and more. While many of these players have made “Top Padres Prospects” lists at one time or another, and it would hurt to see any of them go, they would need to stick on another team’s big league roster all season long to remain with their new organization. We’ve gotten used to the idea as the Padres have added hungrily to their talent pool this way, but it’s rare for a team to take a gamble on an inexperienced kid with a valuable roster spot.
One interesting note here is that the team chose to retain the services of guys like Jabari Blash, Ryan Schimpf, Kyle Lloyd, Jose Ruiz, and Rocky Gale, all players who could have reasonably been designated for assignment to open up a roster spot to add from the Rule 5 again this year or protect a few more of the kids listed above. With last year’s Rule 5 draftees (Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens, and Allen Cordoba) all apparently headed to the minors for seasoning, the 40-man roster will once again be stretched thin with mediocre talent for depth.