The San Diego Padres have made a free-agent signing. It is only their second free-agent signing this winter and the first to a player with major-league experience. Buddy Baumann was given a major-league contract by the team earlier this winter despite never pitching in the majors.
The free agent signing was not a starting shortstop like everyone is waiting for either. The team instead took a chance on journeyman relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva to a reported $1.5 million deal for the 2016 season.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) January 13, 2016
It is no secret that the Padres are looking for relief help. They have already moved Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit,the team’s two best relief options from last season. The Padres have also announced that Brandon Maurer will have an opportunity to pitch from the rotation to start the spring.
So what does the 32-year-old Villanueva bring to the table and can he be effective for the Padres? He is a 10-year veteran with a career 49-53 record. He owns a career 4.18 ERA and a 1.284 WHIP. Out of his 900 plus appearances, Villanueva has made 76 starts. He was used as a spot starter throughout his career, although he didn’t start one game last year for the Cardinals. Villanueva interestingly enough held left-handed batters to a .183 batting average last season.
Villanueva was 4-3 last year with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.164 WHIP. He was mostly effective in the 6th or 7th inning role and provides the Padres with some veteran presence in their bullpen. He should make the team provided he is healthy and depending on what the rotation looks like moving forward he could get a spot start here and there.
The Dominican-born right-handed pitcher has played for four different organizations throughout his career. This is a decent move for the Padres who need help in the bullpen. If the team continues to shop wisely like this, the squad should fill out quite nicely.