The reality is, considering the team talks about identifying “championship” players, this is probably more of a roster challenge than a roster crunch.
By their own assessment, the Padres are to the point where it’s time to begin digging out of the “building” mindset. If so, now is the time to start weeding out middling players.
But the organization does, indeed, have a challenge ahead in deciding which of its major league players to let go and which of its minor league players to make sure it keeps.
Ostensibly, the 40-man roster appears to have 13 available spaces for more than twice that many players.
Even if we were inside the personnel meetings the Padres began Monday, it would be an impossible task to predict the roster at this point, given the possible trades and signings to come. Every variable has at least a couple other variables attached to it, and some of the variables’ variables have a few possible offshoots as well.
There is almost no player the Padres wouldn’t at least consider in trade offerings. The team got enough calls in July and August and had enough players finish strong in the majors and minors that they have an inkling regarding who wants what.
Among the primary potential trade targets for other teams are corner outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes, catchers Austin Hedges, Francisco Mejia and Austin Allen, and a plethora of starting pitching prospects. That latter group likely includes Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi, two lefties who showed in their rookie campaigns that they could cheaply fill a spot in many rotations. And veteran relievers Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates will be part of discussions.
So with all that in play, this is merely a starting point.
Barring trades, 27 current major leaguers are almost certainly locks to remain on the Padres’ roster. Another six minor leaguers seem to be in the team’s plans at least to continue examining what they might offer for another year, and those players would need to be on the 40-man roster by Nov. 20 or become exposed in the Rule 5 draft.