by Ben Davey

Note: This Post Was Written On Sunday Evening

A busy 24 hours today in San Diego. Of course, Happy Easter, and happy soon to be National Holiday known as MLB OPENING DAY. More importantly I hope everyone is safe after the earthquake this afternoon.

With all that said the San Diego Padres new front office has only been in full force for a few months, but already they have made a change in philosophy to the Padres and down through the minors.

All Spring we learned that the new philosophy would be about pitching, speed, and defense, which is a far cry from Sandy Ball’s patiently aggressive and a walk and HR. While we know this is the new direction, and are for the most part excited about it; most of us were surprised to find out that the front office has some more tricks up their sleeves when it comes to filling out the minor league (and major league) rosters.

Today the Padres officially announced that they sent Adam Russel down to AAA, recalled LHP Cesar Ramos, added UTIL Matt Stairs to the 40 man roster, and DFA’d Chad Huffman. Also the Padres put LHRP Joe Thatcher on the DL.

The addition of Stairs and the DFA of Huffman are not the big news. The big surprise is the addition of Ramos to the 25 man roster.  The same Ramos that in 6.2 IP this spring gave up 9 H and 3 ER, and was one of the first players cut by the Padres. Russel on the other hand carried a sub 1 ERA throughout most of ST until yielding 2 ER in his final game in AZ. Russel ended 11 IP, 15 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. The big right hander seemed like a lock but will instead be in AAA to start the season. I guess the idea of going with the 25 best guys does not apply if there are no LHRP.

To AAA we go, madfriars gave a look at the AAA provisional roster (baring any last minute moves). Not surprised by the offense, aside from one notable absence going by the name of Logan Forsythe, who will be the Missions starting 2B. More baffling is the pitching side of the roster. Only 1 pitcher from the 2009 San Antonio Mission team has been promoted to AAA (Ernesto Frieri) Brandon Gomes and his 100 K in 72 IP to go along with 15 holds and a 2.63 ERA? Still in SA. Evan Scibner 3.07 ERA, 21 SV, 8 Wins, 77 K in 70 IP? SA. Mike DeMark 17 holds, 3.15 ERA, 55 K in 60 IP….you guest it, SAN ANTONIO. Also, and this caught me by surprise even more, tall LHP and jewel in the Peavy deal Aaron Poreda also in San Antonio.

To AA we go, again provisional roster by madfriars. Again we find some bold moves. Forsythe to 2B, Poreda in AA, and of course arguably the biggest move is that #1 prospect See-Moan Castro will be skipping Lake Elsinore for AA. Not on the list for pitchers is Nick Vincent or Aaron Breit both of which had great years for the Storm last year. Scribner, Gomes, and Demark, will now be joined by Oland and Italiano, making 5 pitchers each of whom pitched at the end of the game last year. In the rotation Castro will take over for probable opening day starter Corey Luebke who was injured throwing warm ups before last weeks Padre-D*Back game. He will be joined by Kluber, Pelzer, and Hefner; leaving the 5th spot open for Poreda (although reports were that he would begin the year in the pen) Culp, or hopefully Aaron Breit.

In Lake Elsinore, where I will be watching my first game of the year this upcoming Friday (report to follow), the biggest news might be who will NOT be their on opening day. Of course Castro will be in AA, but Jaff Decker will begin the year on the DL (again) this time after a hamstring injury. He is listed out for 3 weeks. 2008 Fort Wayne star closer Jackson Quezada will also begin on the DL making sure he is 100% before going to the Diamond, and C Adam Zornes will also stay behind in Peoria to rehab. Hitters are once again not a big surprise. Unfortunately without Castro a rotation of Bass, Schmidt, Fetter, Reyes, and Davis (or Breit if Breit is not in AA) does not look as fearsome. The pen will see Brad Brach and Alexis Lara taking over for Oland and Italiano, with Quezada fitting somewhere in the 7,8,9 role when he returns.

Finally some of the biggest head scratchers might come from reigning MWL champs the Tin Caps. The front office decided to push many of the young hitters giving starting spots to Galvez, Rincon, Liriano, and Everett Williams. However the same can not be said for the pitchers. As of right now neither top draft picks Kelvyus Sampson or James Needy are on the Fort Wayne Roster. Instead we see a rotation of Dexter Carter, Juan Oramus, Michael Watt, Jerry Sullivan and Pedro Hernandez. Oramus is coming off a good year in the Mexican League and Pedro was pushed last year in Eugene before returning to AZL. Lets just hope that we do see both Sampson, Needy, and Tate in Fort Wayne before the year is over.

So there you have it, the provisional rosters for each of the 4 full season clubs. Aside from Forsythe I cant say the hitters were much of a surprise, however the pitchers, mainly the relievers threw me for a second. From looking at the rosters I have to say that if Luebke comes back healthy, with that bullpen, and a lineup with Kulbacki, Carrol, Darnell, Forsythe, Hunter, Clark, etc… wow that team should be great.