Padres Points: Pirela, Butler, and Despaigne

Last week, I looked at Rule Five draft pick Jabari Blash and his potential to make an impact on this season’s major league roster. This week focuses on the infield, where one under the radar acquisition has the potential to make a major impact for the club this season.

Jose Pirela

2015 season (Yankees): .230/.247/.311, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 16 SO

The 5’11, 215 pound right handed infielder was one of the first acquisitions made by the club prior to the Winter Meetings. A solid Spring Training could propel him into a bench role on the team’s Opening Day Roster.

His short time with the major league roster shows deceiving numbers, but his minor league numbers show offensive production. In his minor league career, he’s hit .276/.342/.393, including hitting .310/.376/.410 with multiple minor league affiliates in the Yankees organization.

In the San Diego Union Tribune’s Padres Weekly Chat, reporter Dennis Lin says he hears Pirela could even be more athletic than Yangveris Solarte, who is the favorite to win the third base job. Even with a good spring, Pirela won’t be thrown into the starting lineup, but he is someone who could get exposure if injuries arise.

With a decent spring, Pirela could take a run at taking away a roster spot from the team’s current utility player, Alexi Amarista. In his baseball career, Pirela has played all infield positions and even the corner outfield spots to some degree. Amarista, while a player with a solid glove, lacks any offensive upside. Pirela has a real chance to grab a roster spot this Spring that would likely push Amarista off the roster.  The Padres already have three infielders who hit from the left side of the plate besides Amarista; Solarte (switch hitter), Cory Spangenberg, and Brett Wallace.

While his spot on the roster is not a lock, Pirela is someone who could make a significant impact off the bench given his versatility and potential offensive upside that Amarista lacks.

Friar Notes

  • Padres right handed pitcher Ryan Butler (7th round, 2014) was given a 50 game suspension following a second positive test of drug use, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. He pitched 64.2 innings between Advanced-A and Double-A, giving up 28 earned runs.
  • The club announced numerous changes from the athletic trainer to the front office. Click here to see the press release.

Friar Moves

  • The team announced that they have signed veteran right handed pitcher Fernando Rodney to a one year increntive laden deal. He is the clear favorite to close games in San Diego this season.
  • In order to make room on the 40 man roster, the Padres traded Odrisamer Despaigne (I mentioned a few weeks back his roster spot was in jeopardy) to the Orioles for right handed pitcher Jean Cosme (17th round, 2014). In 12 starts, Cosme pitched 57 innings giving up 30 runs last season in Class A. This fits a trend for the Padres, who now have a good pool of young pitching in the lower tier of the minor leagues.
  • The team signed catcher Hunter Redman (8th round, Dodgers, 2014) to a minor league deal, writes Matt Eddy. He’s played sparingly in the Dodgers system, but is a .263/.311/.386 hitter in between Rookie Ball and Double A.
  • Also from Eddy, the Padres released infielder Nick Evans, who they signed earlier in the offseason.

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