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Padres sign reliever Adam Warren; Jose Castillo headed to 60-day IL

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The Padres have signed veteran reliever Adam Warren to a one-year deal. Meanwhile, lefty Jose Castillo is headed to the 60-day DL with a flexor strain in his forearm.

League Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Three Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

This morning’s news comes with a dose of good and a dose of bad. The good news is that the Padres have a new veteran reliever signed for the 2019 season. The bad news is that a promising young reliever won’t be on the mound any time soon.

Adam Warren is a 31-year-old righty who has seven years of MLB experience under his belt. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 4th round of the 2009 draft and made his MLB debut in pinstripes in 2012. A reliever for most of his MLB career, he did make 17 starts for the Yankees in 2015 in a swingman role. He was traded to the Cubs after the 2015 season, only to be traded back to the Yankees in the middle of the 2016 season. He was traded again to the Mariners last year in the midst of a season where he logged a 3.14 ERA and 1.316 WHIP through 51.2 innings across 47 appearances. While he used a curveball and a changeup fairly often earlier in his career, he’s shifted to a repertoire heavy with an even mix of fastballs and sliders, mixing the change & curve in less than 10% of the time last year. Like most righties, he’s most effective against same-handed hitters, but he doesn’t have a strong platoon split. He worked more than one inning a dozen times last year. Expect him to be deployed in a similar manner to Craig Stammen or Robert Stock from last season.

Jon Heyman has reported that Warren’s deal is for $2.5MM guaranteed, with a $2MM salary for 2019 and a $500K buyout on a $2.5MM team option for 2020.

Jose Castillo to 60-day Injured List

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most promising relievers coming into camp this year, Jose Castillo was shut down on February 25th with reported tightness in his forearm. He appeared in 37 games as a rookie last year, posting an impressive 3.29 ERA and 0.913 WHIP in 38.1 innings of work. His high-90’s fastball and devastating changeup made him a tough matchup for anyone, and some were expecting him to be the dominant lefty in the Padres bullpen for 2019. Placement on the 60-day Injured List suggests that this injury, reported as noted above as a “flexor strain”, is clearly a significant injury that will sideline him through the first month of the MLB season or more.

Castillo’s injury makes the signing of Aaron Loup much more timely. Signed on February 14th to a one-year, major league deal with a team option for 2020 and plenty of incentives, Loup now joins Brad Wieck as the two left-handed pure relievers on the team’s 40-man roster. Robbie Erlin and Matt Strahm are solid contenders for starting rotation roles. The team has three lefty relief non-roster invitees in camp who could earn their way onto the roster as well in Dietrich Enns, Kyle McGrath, and Eric Stout. With scores of MLB-experienced free agents still looking for work, don’t be surprised if the team brings more veteran talent on board.