The San Diego Padres looked like they were good on starting pitching depth immediately after the Sean Manaea trade. They had him, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Joe Musgrove, Chris Paddack, Ryan Weathers, Reiss Knehr, and MacKenzie Gore as their options. Now, four game into the season, the Padres might have gone from nine starters to six if Snell ends up on the injured list.
Snell suffered an adductor strain while warming up right before his scheduled start yesterday and Bob Melvin said after the Padres 10-5 win that Snell is probably going to go on the IL. An official move hasn’t yet been made though.
Snell is a lefty so it would make sense for a lefty to replace him on Friday (his next scheduled start day). Gore, the Padres top ranked pitching prospect, just happens to be a lefty so he seems like an obvious pick to start on Friday if Snell isn’t available.
In addition to being a lefty, Gore continued to hit the strike zone consistently in his first Triple-A start of 2022. The 23-year-old went five shutout innings and didn’t walk a single batter.
MacKenzie Gore was nearly unhittable in his 2022 debut for the @epchihuahuas.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 10, 2022
5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K pic.twitter.com/8LCw5BeInI
Gore might be an obvious pick to fans but that doesn’t mean it’s an obvious pick for the front office though. If I were A.J. Preller or one of his assistants, I’d ask the question ‘Do we want to bring Gore up just to send him back down?’
Gore isn’t Knehr, who probably realizes his role this season is going to be to pitch in El Paso and make spot starts if needed. He is the top ranked prospect in the farm system so I’d imagine the Padres don’t want to mess around with Gore. If he comes up, they’d want him to stay up with the team. There isn’t much benefit in sending Gore back and forth.
The April expanded 28-man rosters could help Gore stay for awhile if he gets called up for Friday’s start but what happens on May 1 when rosters go back to 26 players?
Javy Guerra is a likely candidate to be designated for assignment. Steven Wilson has looked good so he actually might stay so does Nabil Crismatt go down if Gore stays because the Padres are confident they can get through a game with Gore and some multi-inning stints from Craig Stammen and Pierce Johnson?
There are a lot of questions to be answered come May if Gore is on the roster but the first question that needs to be answered if Snell is on the IL is if they plan on keeping Gore up permanently after making his big league debut.