While the Padres offense and defense don’t profile much worse than last year’s edition, their pitching staff looks to be a little more questionable, at least on paper. The Padres are returning the top three members of their rotation, in Tyson Ross, James Shields, and Andrew Cashner, but there is nothing but question marks following that group. All the players vying for the fourth and fifth rotation spots, including but not limited to, Robbie Erlin, Brandon Morrow, Drew Pomeranz, Colin Rea, Luis Perdomo, and even Brandon Maurer, come with their own question marks. The Padres certainly have a good amount of depth to pick from to fill those two spots, but in this case that may not be a good thing. As much as he struggled in 2015, the Padres will certainly miss the consistency of Ian Kennedy, for better or for worse. The Padres pitching staff may still be good, but the question marks hold it back quite a bit.
Moving on to the bullpen, the Padres clearly saw more turnover there than in any other category mentioned on this list. While the offense looks about the same, at least to an extent, and the defense and pitching went through various changes, the bullpen will look almost completely different in 2016. Gone are Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, with Brandon Maurer apparently heading to the rotation, leaving the Padres bullpen with nothing but question marks in the back end. The team has made plenty of additions to the pen over the last few months and even into last season, but the team lacks the proven talent of years past.
While the Padres will be bringing back both Kevin Quackenbush and Nick Vincent, as well as few other of last seasons’ additions as well, including Jon Edwards and Cory Mazzoni, the team also has several new players coming in. The biggest of which is probably new closer Fernando Rodney. Despite his struggles in 2015, Rodney looks to be slated to be the Padres closer for next season, and he should provide some good veteran leadership in the back of the bullpen. Beyond that, the Padres also added a few rule five pickups, in Blake Smith and Josh Martin. Add some combination of Carlos Villanueva, Buddy Baumann, Drew Pomeranz, and whoever else doesn’t make the rotation, and the Padres will certainly have plenty of bullpen options for next season. The issue here is the unproven nature of many of the guys they will be counting on.