Major League Baseball agreed to allow all teams carry 28 players on their roster through May 1 to begin the 2022 season. Therefore, the San Diego Padres roster will have to be cut down by two players by the beginning of their game against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday.
There is a maximum of 14 pitchers allowed on all rosters, which was agreed upon this week by MLB and the Players Association. So let’s play some GM and go through some of the names A.J. Preller and the front office will be going through over the course of the next couple days to determine who will be staying on the major league roster and who will be sent down to the minors.
C.J. Abrams (3 Options Available)
Fernando Tatis Jr.’s wrist injury opened up the door for Abrams to impress and he did just that, making the major league roster after hitting .324 in spring training. There were always going to be some growing pains with Abrams at the big league level because he’s still developing. After all, the 21-year-old had only 348 plate appearances in the minors before facing the Arizona Diamondbacks the first weekend of the regular season.
Abrams so far this season is hitting .146 and getting on base only 25.5% of the time. There have been numerous at bats this season where he ended up striking out because he couldn’t catch up to a fastball up in the zone. His Statcast numbers, not including his amazing speed, aren’t pretty.
C.J. Abrams' Statcast numbers through his first 14 major league games with the Padres pic.twitter.com/Ktm1Xmz9EE— Talking Friars (@talkingfriars) April 30, 2022
With this said, Bob Melvin and A.J. Preller probably won’t send him down partly because they’ve seen some growth from him. For example, he made two errors at shortstop in the series finale in Cincinnati the other day but bounced back immediately, making a nice play ranging to his left that few would be able to make because they don’t have the speed and athleticism he has.
CJ Abrams with the nice play after maing his second error of the game. 7-5 Padres pic.twitter.com/wNA2KgILXM— Talking Friars (@talkingfriars) April 28, 2022
There also aren’t any other middle infield options available every day on the bench right now. Manny Machado, Jurickson Profar, Ha-Seong Kim, and Jake Cronenworth are all starting most of the time right now and the Padres still need to have someone on the bench who can fill in for them.
So while Abrams might be seeing less playing time at shortstop because Kim is starting to heat up, he has a good chance of surviving the two player roster trim.
Matt Beaty (1 Option Available)
When Beaty was acquired, some thought he might actually be platooning with Profar in left field. Beaty would hit against righties with Profar hitting against lefties. This was before Profar hit five home runs in his first 18 games—already eclipsing his 2021 home run total less than a month into the season.
While Beaty only has 25 at bats this season, he is hitting .080 with an OPS+ of 3 (100 is league average). The former Dodger has one option remaining according to FanGraphs, so the Padres have the ability to send him down to Triple-A to keep him from being snatched up by another team.
Also, Trayce Thompson was just called up this week to replace Wil Myers and he doesn’t have any options remaining so the Padres are likely more willing to go with four outfielders on the roster so that they can keep Thompson’s bat and Azocar’s speed/glove on the team.
Jose Azocar (3 Options Available)
If the Padres did go with Beaty as one of the four outfielders, that would mean Azocar would likely be sent down. Azocar has been valuable for the Padres off the bench because he has speed on the bases and is a solid defensive replacement late in games. However, Azocar has more minor league options left than Beaty so the Padres might just bank on the offense continuing to score runs during this easier stretch of games so that the outfield defense isn’t as crucial.
Ray Kerr (3 Options Available)
Kerr hasn’t done anything wrong to be sent down but they haven’t pitched him in more than one inning since he was called up when Pierce Johnson went on the IL. That one inning went smoothly on April 24, as he retired all three Dodgers he faced on ten pitches.
If he isn’t making regular appearances out of the bullpen, there’s no reason to have him on the 26-man roster come May 2. He is one of the very likely candidates to be sent down and it isn’t a bad thing. This would allow him to get regular pitching time and continue to work on his command.
Pedro Avila (2 Options Available)
Avila seems more likely to be sent down than anyone on the roster. I’d put him more likely than Kerr because the only time he has pitched is when the game is totally out of hand and the Padres seemingly value Kerr more than Avila right now. Avila was called up on April 13 and has pitched a grand total of two times since then. Both were in games that were decided by at least eight runs.