Last month, we wrote this piece regarding the Padres bullpen issues. Nearly 30 days later, issues still remain. In fact, getting to Kirby Yates has just been downright difficult. Craig Stammen is the 8th inning man. The problem? 44% of inherited runners have scored. Last year was 36%, the year before was 25%. That’s not a good trend.
For context, the league average is 31% and the Padres are at 35%. Translation? The bullpen is below average. But you knew that.
There is a harsh reality that the Pen’ has cost this team a half a dozen games or more since the start of the season. Games like yesterday are unacceptable (in our new Padre world of demand more) so we need to look for a solution.
What do you think folks? Is it time to act and bring in an arm from outside or not?
Published May 13th
By now it’s a story that’s been recycled over and over again. The San Diego Padres have bullpen issues. Their 9 blown saves lead the league. When you consider Kirby Yates is 16/16, it’s plain to see their issues range between painfully short outings from the starting pitchers as well as ineffectiveness from the middle relievers.
Coming into the season, the bullpen was considered a major strength for the team. Robert Stock, Jose Castillo, Brad Wieck, Adam Warren and Trey Wingenter were all considered strong options to get the team through the 6th-7th innings. Aaron Loup came in late to provide some assurance as well.
Unfortunately, a mixture of injuries and poor performance have put the team in a challenging position. Castillo got hurt prior to the season, leaving Wieck and Loup as the lefty specialists. Loup was solid until he went down with a left elbow strain. Wieck, who showed well last season, has been up and down.
Stock was supposed to be the obvious choice in the middle innings. He was lights out last year, but that success has not carried over. He had as many walks and earned runs as innings pitched before getting sent down. Wingenter pitched well, but overuse due to SP inning limits may have led to a shoulder strain that has sidelined him. Warren has pitched well off and on, but is certainly not a sure thing.
Gerardo Reyes is the latest arm to get an opportunity to show he belongs at the big league level. He’s been erratic at best, similar to Stock. Sunday’s awful appearance didn’t do him any favors.
That leaves Stammen and Yates. Yates has been nothing short of spectacular, but even Stammen has been vulnerable of late.
Ok, we get it. The bullpen is a mess and it’s costing the team games. The team has been very clear they’re not going to stretch their starters at all (much to this writers chagrin, but you knew that.) So where do we go from here?
Here’s a few Free Agent options out there.
Ok, we know this one is obvious and expensive. The padres should have no interest in moving Yates out of the closer spot, making this long shot even longer. Worth mentioning though as he’s still unsigned. His price is getting lower.
The 38 year old reliever had a down year in 2018. Prior to that, he’s pitched incredibly well throughout his career. He owns a career 3.48 ERA in 740 games. He would be an excellent place holder for this season as some of the younger arms develop. He’s also a proven commodity that can serve as a mentor to the young pitching staff.
A month ago, the Nationals intended to sign the 34 year old right hander. That deal fell through when they determined he was 4-5 weeks away from being ready to pitch. Conveniently for the Padres, it’s been 4 weeks. Could they look the add the versatile veteran? He’s pitched in 355 games, starting 188 over his career. An innings eater that can do it all is a great asset to have.
Ramos struggled last year before eventually being shut down due to a torn labrum. Ramos was an effective reliever throughout his career prior to last year. In 374 career appearances he sports a 3.07 ERA. If he’s healthy, it’s another veteran option that can provide the team a much needed 6th-7th inning option. The 1 time all-star has experience closing, so high leverage situations are nothing new.
There’s many more options out there for the team to choose from. Anyone else in mind Padre fans? Let’s hear your thoughts below!