Last week’s flurry of roster moves left some unfinished business, and those loose ends are now being addressed. The team cleared seven roster spaces to protect seven players from the Rule 5 draft, and along the way fourplayers remained in DFA limbo: Cory Spangenberg, Colin Rea, Christian Villanueva, and Allen Cordoba. Now that the dust has settled and all of them cleared waivers, we know the next steps for each of these four players.
Allen Cordoba has been assigned outright to AAA El Paso. An automobile accident prior to the 2018 season left him experiencing concussion-related symptoms all season, leaving his future greatly in question. The physical gifts he displayed in 2017 with the MLB club were clear from the start as the now-22-year-old possesses the speed, power and athleticism to become an impact player, but he needs to get healthy and then get back on track with a progression that now has a two-year detour thanks to a season stashed at the end of the bench of the MLB team due to the Rule 5 draft rules and now a season lost to injury.
Colin Rea has been released. The tall righty popped up as a surprise prospect in 2015 as he climbed the minor league ladder and earned his MLB debut, making six starts for the Padres. He went on to make 18 starts for the Padres before being traded to the Marlins along with Andrew Cashner. His career as a Marlin lasted only one start, as an elbow injury led to allegations that the Padres weren’t properly disclosing their medical records and a portion of the trade was reversed by Major League Baseball, sending Rea back to the Padres. He underwent Tommy John surgery later that year and worked his way back to the mound in 2018. The results weren’t promising. While Rea may eventually return to form and earn an MLB gig some day, there wasn’t room in the packed Padres organization for him any more.
Cory Spangenberg elected free agency. As the only player in this mix with at least three years of MLB service time, he had the option to reject a minor league assignment and elect to become a free agent. The former first-rounder has served as a utility infielder for most of his Padres tenure, and the recent addition of Greg Garcia slid Spangenberg down the depth chart by at least one rung. A capable defender at second and third base, Spangenberg never hit as well as hoped, and the quad injury that sidelined him for most of the 2016 season sapped him of the speed that was one of his strongest assets. MLBTradeRumors forecasted him to make a shade over $2M in his second year of arbitration, so the choice to cut Spangenberg ahead of fellow infielders Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaje may have partially had financial motivations.
It had been previously reported that third baseman Christian Villanueva had been sold to the Yomiuri Giants. He cleared waivers and was released to the Padres to facilitate the transaction. The specifics of his deal, or what the Padres are receiving in return, have yet to be announced. One thing that is certain is that the team is looking for a new direction at third base moving forward.
The offseason is still young. The 40-man roster is currently full, but the Padres have been very active each offseason under General Manager AJ Preller. The organization appears to be at a tipping point where the focus is shifting away from gathering assets and increasing value, instead looking ahead to building sustainable success at the major league level.