Andy Green brings three Rule 5 Picks, four Catchers, and no reserve Outfielders to Los Angeles for Opening Day
By Michael Cline
In a surprising move, the San Diego Padres have retained all three Rule 5 Draft players, and will take four catchers (including hybrid player Christian Bethancourt) to Chavez Ravine for the opening series against the Dodgers.
The Padres acquired the top three picks from last winter’s Rule 5 Draft, and each one survived the final round of cuts. Shortstop Allen Cordoba, Catcher Luis Torrens, and reliever Miguel Diaz have all been retained by the Padres. If San Diego had failed to keep any of these players on their Major League Roster, they would have to offer each player back to their original team.
Equally surprising, the Padres opted to option Jabari Blash and Cory Spangenberg to AAA El Paso. Both were seen as a potential fourth outfielder. Blash showed tremendous power throughout March, yet lost a potential starting job in the OF and will begin 2017 with the Chihuahuas. Spangenberg, who missed all but 14 games last season due to injury, was blocked by Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf at Second and Third Base. He will see consistent playing time and a healthy amount of plate appearances in his first year back from an extended stay on the DL.
Instead, San Diego chose to keep four Catchers, including Hector Sanchez. Austin Hedges, who won the Opening Day job behind the plate, will be supported by Torrens and Sanchez.
Christian Bethancourt, a Catcher turned Outfielder, turned Pitcher, will be a hybrid option for the Padres in 2017. Bethancourt will see time as a reliever and pinch hit option for Andy Green. Moving Bethancourt to a unique late innings role frees up ABs for Hedges, who will catch on a daily basis for the first time in his career.