San Diego Padres 2013: 4 Veteran Free-Agent Pitchers the Friars Should Go After
The San Diego Padres have made it publicly known that their offseason agenda was to add two starting pitchers to their 2013 rotation. Names like Edwin Jackson, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Shaun Marcum have all been discussed and are considered to be realistic targets for general manager Josh Byrnes. If Byrnes is able to land one of those three, and with the recent signing of starter Jason Marquis, the Padres should still consider adding another veteran arm to their staff for the 2013 season.
Even with Petco Park's highly anticipated and long-awaited new dimensions, it is still highly regarded as a spacious pitchers' park and a prime destination for veteran hurlers looking to resurrect a career. With the Padres' recent track record of injuries, adding a low-risk, high-reward free agent would be a smart choice should their pitching staff once again be plagued with trips to the disabled list.
Let's take a look at a few of these free-agent pitchers who are looking for a comeback but could also benefit from a change in scenery and bring needed veteran leadership to a relatively young Padre rotation.
Even though he didn't appear in a single game last season, Javier Vazquez is a proven innings eater.
Coming off of a solid 2011 campaign with the Marlins, where he finished 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA in 192.2 innings (32 starts), Vazquez is now setting the stage for a comeback while pitching for his native Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Vazquez has always pitched well in the NL and assuming he performs in the WBC, he could be a very interesting addition to the Padres rotation.
Carl Pavano is ready to pitch in 2013. Pavano, who was diagnosed with a season-ending bruised humerus bone last season, recently told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that "his shoulder is fine" and that he's been able to "put those issues behind him."
Luckily for Pavano, the injury didn't require him to have surgery, which has allowed him to workout and strengthen his shoulder during the offseason.
Owning a 4.39 ERA in a 14-year major league career, Pavano has always been a workhorse, and before his disappointing season last year, he had just recently come off of two consecutive seasons with at least 221 innings pitched.
Will Pavano be able to recapture his prior form at the age of 37? The risk seems to be worth the reward, and he should be a target for the Padres going into 2013.
Carlos Zambrano may have a temper problem, but when healthy, he could be mowing down hitters in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
After a disappointing first (and what looks to be the last) season with the Miami Marlins, Zambrano is desperately seeking a starting-rotation job. After getting off to a promising 2012 start (11 starts in 73.2 innings with a 2.81 ERA), Zambrano's next nine outings suffered from command issues as he walked 38 in the next 41.1 innings pitched. After being demoted to the bullpen, Zambrano swore that he wanted no part of being a reliever.
"We didn't put him in the bullpen because we're crazy," former Marlin manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Crazy or not, Zambrano deserves another opportunity to start for a major league team. Perhaps with the guidance of pitching coach Darren Balsley and head coach (and former pitcher) Bud Black, Zambrano can once again harness his abilities and learn to focus more on pitching rather than problematic distractions.
Despite the fact that he’s coming off of four consecutive seasons of at least 184 innings pitched—with relatively good results—the Mets non-tendered Pelfrey and let him hit the open market.
Like Vazquez, Pavano and Zambrano, Pelfrey is not an overpowering pitcher. He is, however, a durable innings eater when injury free and is still only 29 years old.
Assuming he comes back strong and healthy from Tommy John surgery, Pelfrey could turn out to be an affordable option and benefit greatly from pitching in the spacious confines of Petco Park.