Offseason Upgrades Won't Hold Back Padres Power Trio
The Padres' busy offseason resulted in Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove joining what is now a championship-caliber rotation in San Diego.
But as much as it appears the Padres no longer need young lefthanders MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon or Ryan Weathers to fill out a staff in 2021, the organization has no desire to ease off that trio's developmental plans.
Because who knows how many arms will be needed as the season stretches from 60 games back to 162?
“It doesn’t really impact them,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said of all the additions to the big league rotation. “. . . We believe so much in those guys and their talents that when they’re right and they’re progressing and they’re pitching their A-game and they’re doing it consistently, I don’t think anything is going to hold them back.”
The Padres have a track record with such things.
Morejon, whose battled back and shoulder ailments since signing out of Cuba for $11 million in July 2016, had been used out of the bullpen and as a spot starter and opener since debuting in July 2019.
Righthander Luis Patiño took a leap forward at the alternate training site last summer and leapfrogged Gore to make his big league debut out of the bullpen.
Likewise, Weathers’ stuff ticked up in summer camp, prompting the Padres to call him up to work in relief in the National League Division Series against the Dodgers.
Gore was held back primarily for two reasons.
One, the Padres preferred to keep their top pitching prospect on a starter’s track. Second, an out-of-whack delivery had siphoned off some of his effectiveness, a hurdle that the Padres say he’s since cleared.
Gore, Morejon and Weathers were expected to receive starts early in spring training.
“As long as they continue to improve, there is going to be real opportunity for those guys,” Tingler said. “It could be different roles. I think, honestly, their timetable is on them.”
— The Padres’ 33 non-roster invitees to big league camp included three draftees from 2020: outfielder Robert Hassell, righthander Justin Lange and lefthander Jagger Haynes. Shortstop CJ Abrams and outfielder Joshua Mears, the top picks from the Padres’ 2019 draft class, were also participating in their first big league camp.
— Righthander Reggie Lawson, who missed all of 2020 to Tommy John surgery, progressed to the mound early in camp in his push to return at some point this season.