Tuesday was the deadline for Major League clubs to set their 40-man roster, in anticipation of the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on December 13th.
The Padres went into Tuesday with a full 40-man roster, so it was fairly obvious that San Diego would need to make a flurry of moves, in order to protect prospects. The organization finished the day with three trades, four players designated for assignment and seven minor leaguers were added to the 40-man roster. Here are the moves that affected the Padres’ farm system:
Players added to the 40-man roster:
The Padres added seven players from their minor league system, including four pitchers and three position players. Three of the players added were included on our preseason top-20 list. Anderson Espinoza, who hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch since 2016, was the highest rated player from our preseason top-20 list to be added to the roster.
Espinoza, 20, started throwing off a mound in instructs and should be healthy for the start of the season. He ranked as the seventh best prospect in our cumulative top-20. He will be one of the youngest players in big league camp next spring. Espinoza’s stuff was electric prior to his surgery and his potential was far too great for the club to risk exposing him in the Rule 5 draft.
RHP Chris Paddack caps off an incredible comeback season by being added to the 40-man roster. Paddack, 22, was the 15th ranked player on our preseason top-20. The righty from the Austin, Texas area carved up opposing hitters all season and he won the MadFriars Pitcher of the Year for 2018. Perhaps Paddack’s most impressive achievement of 2018 was walking just eight hitters in 90 innings between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio.
Catcher Austin Allen parlayed another solid season into a 40-man roster spot, as he becomes the fourth catcher to join the 40-man roster. For the second consecutive season, Allen slugged 22 homers, while slashing .290/.351/.506 for San Antonio.
RHP Pedro Avila spent the entire season in Lake Elsinore and compiled a 7-9 record with a 4.27 ERA in 24 games (20 starts). Avila isn’t the biggest guy in the world (listed at 5’10) but he has racked up the strikeouts in his tenure in the Padres’ organization. Avila punched out 142 strikeouts in 130 innings.
RHP Gerardo Reyes was acquired by San Diego in the Wil Myers trade was also added to the roster. Reyes, 25, split the 2018 campaign between High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, pitching to a 2.77 ERA in 40 games. Reyes has the capacity to hit 100 mph with his fastball and has a very good slider as well.
Outfielder Edward Olivares showed an intriguing blend of power and speed and the Padres rewarded his potential with a spot on the 40-man roster. Olivares was the 20th ranked player on our preseason top-20 list. The former Blue Jay hit .277/.321/.429 with 12 homers and 21 stolen bases for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Olivares is perhaps most famous for being traded for former Padre Yangervis Solarte.
Perhaps the most surprising addition to the 40-man roster was infielder Ty France. France, a 34th-round pick out of San Diego State, had his finest pro season in 2018, belting a career-high 22 homers between San Antonio and El Paso while accumulating a .267/.355/.464 slash-line between the two stops.
“I think [France] opened some eyes this year and is someone they need to take a good look at in camp next spring,” said San Antonio Missions’ broadcaster Mike Saeger in our year-end coverage.
San Diego dealt three pitchers for a trio of minor leaguers in separate deals to clear spots on the 40-man roster. Of the three arms traded, Lockett had been with the organization since 2012, when he was drafted in the fourth round out of high school.
For Lockett, the Padres received 19-year-old RHP Ignacio Feliz. Feliz came stateside for the first time in 2018 and started 10 games for the AZL Indians (like the Padres, they have two clubs in the Arizona League), pitching to a 3.00 ERA in 45 innings, walking 14 and striking out 54.
The righty signed with Cleveland for $85,000 out of the Dominican Republic back in 2016. According to Baseball America, Feliz’s fastball sits in the 88-89 range but can top out at 92 mph.
Quiroz, 26, was acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for RHP Colten Brewer. Quiroz, 26, was signed out of the Mexican League on November 21 of last year. While he was old for the Double-A level, the left-handed swinging outfielder hit .299/.413/.598 with Portland.
The infielder has shown the ability to work the count and drive the ball to the gaps. Even though the Mexican League produces a lot of inflated numbers, Quiroz’s career .396 on-base percentage is still mighty intriguing.
In the final trade of the day, San Diego sent RHP Rowan Wick to the Cubs in exchange for infielder Jason Vosler.
Vosler, 24, was selected in the 14th round by the Cubs in the 2014 MLB draft. Since Vosler was not added to the Padres’ 40-man roster so he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
The infielder swings from the left side of the plate and has shown some impressive power. He split last year between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa and hit a collective .251/.330/.467 with 29 doubles, 23 homers, and 93 RBI. He has hit 20 homers in each of the last two campaigns. He has experience at every infield position but has spent the majority of the last two seasons playing third base.
Designated for Assignment
A few big names and former top prospects lost their spot on the 40-man roster, including Spangenberg, who was the 10th overall pick in 2011. The infielder struggled in 2018 and was slated to earn a raise on the $1.7 million he earned in 2018 through arbitration. The Padres had cheaper options on the roster so Spangenberg will hit free agency, unless he is claimed on waivers.
Spangenberg hit just .235/.298/.362 for San Diego in 2018, while striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances. The left-handed swinging infielder was worth two wins in 2015 and his versatility and speed should help him find a gig on the open market assuming he isn’t claimed outright.
For Colin Rea, the writing seemed to be on the wall after the club failed to add him to the active roster in September. Rea returned from Tommy John surgery this season but spent the season in the minors. Between San Antonio and El Paso, the righty pitched to a 5.70 ERA in 75 innings. Assuming he clears waivers, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see San Diego have interest in bringing him to spring training, although that is purely speculation on my account.
Infielder/outfielder Allen Cordoba lost his 40-man spot after injuries derailed his 2018 season. Cordoba showed some promise in the big leagues in 2017 but he just never got going this season. He was involved in a terrible car accident prior to spring training.
The former Cardinals’ farmhand hit just .206/.233/.310 with Lake Elsinore this season. A best-case scenario for the organization would be for Cordoba to clear waivers and return to the organization, perhaps returning to Lake Elsinore.
Sold to Japan: 3B Carlos Villanueva
In one of the strangest moves of the day, the Padres designated third baseman Christian Villanueva and he will go to Japan, where he could make as much as $3 million next season. Dennis Lin of The Athletic first reported the news.
Villanueva gave the Padres league-average production at the hot corner and he finished with 20 homers in what amounted to his rookie season. The Padres seemed to be looking for an upgrade at third so the organization is allowing Villanueva to obtain a more lucrative gig in 2019.
With all of the moves today, the Padres still have a full 40-man roster.