The San Diego Padres finished dead last in the NL West in 2016, and their 68-94 record could be attributed in large part to their poor starting rotation. After losing their ace Tyson Ross on Opening Day, the Padres were left with very little certainty in their rotation, and it showed as the season progressed.
They haven’t done much in improving their rotation this offseason, but their mix of veterans and young talent could help speed up the rebuilding process. Here’s how I think the Padres’ rotation will look when the season begins, and sorry folks, Ginny Baker didn’t quite make the cut.
- Clayton Richard: The 33-year-old was re-signed as a starter earlier this month, and will lead in what is projected to be one of the worst rotations in baseball. Richard hasn’t started more than 11 games since 2012 but has surpassed 200 innings twice in his career. In nine starts and two relief appearances with the Padres last season, Richard posted a 2.52 ERA. He likely didn’t envision himself taking the mound on Opening Day for the Padres, but I think Richard will be their guy when play begins.
- Jered Weaver: The Padres recently signed the ten-year veteran to a one-year deal. Age caught up to Weaver very quickly over the last two seasons, as his performance dropped significantly in that span. The three-time All-Star posted a career-worst 5.06 ERA in 31 starts last year and gave up a league-leading 37 homers. However, Weaver could be a valuable arm for the Padres, as he has surpassed 200 innings four times in his career. If the workhorse can give the team anywhere close to 180 innings in 2017, the front office should be thrilled.
- Paul Clemens: After a disappointing summer after making his debut on June 20th, Clemens pitched exceptionally well at the end of the season. In his last four starts, he posted a 0.83 ERA and limited opposing hitter to a .169 average. The 29-year-old has only started 19 games in his career, but he should have every opportunity to stay in the rotation in 2017. He’ll start in the third spot in the rotation.
- Luis Perdomo: Perhaps the most promising pitcher in their rotation, Perdomo could provide quality innings for the Padres from the fourth spot. The 23-year-old made 20 starts last season and earned a quality start in half of them. His 5.71 ERA is ugly, but he performed better as a starter with a 4.85 ERA. Perdomo is a young guy whose fastball sits in the high 90’s, and with some guidance and experience, he could be a pleasant surprise in 2017.
- Jhoulys Chacin: Chacin rounds out the rotation, after signing with the team this offseason. He made 22 starts with the Angels and Braves last season, posting a 4.81 ERA in 144 innings. There have been times in his career that Chacin proved he could be a front of the rotation starter. In 2013 with the Colorado Rockies he posted a 3.47 ERA in 197.1 innings, but he hasn’t done much since then. He was a low-risk, high-reward signing, and if he can pitch anywhere close to the way he did with the Rockies, he could be an important part of the Padres rotation.
There’s no oneye-catchingng in the Padres rotation, and I don’t see them contending in 2017. However a lot can happen before the regular season begins, and the Padres are the kind of team that may have some surprises up their sleeves. They start the season on April 3rd against the Los Angeles Dodgers.