It’s been a busy day transactional day for the Padres, and the team announced two more additional moves to clear space on the 40-man roster. San Diego declined its $2MM club option on left-hander Aaron Loup, instead paying him $200K in a buyout. The club also parted ways with left-hander Robbie Erlin, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
Loup came to San Diego on a one-year deal that paid him at least $1.4MM in guaranteed money (the $200K buyout and $1.2MM in salary for 2019). Unfortunately for the veteran southpaw, his season was cut short after only four appearances, as he suffered a left forearm strain that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Loup also missed about a month in 2018 with a forearm strain, which creates even more durability questions for a pitcher who was a bullpen workhorse for the Blue Jays from 2013-17 (averaging 57 appearances per season). It seems that Loup will almost surely have to settle for a minor league contract as he looks to rebound from his lost 2019.
Erlin will hit the open market after nine years in San Diego’s organization. Long considered a potential staple of the Padres’ rotation, inconsistency and some notable injuries hampered Erlin’s progress. He missed a good deal of 2014 due to elbow problems, and then virtually all of the 2016-17 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Since returning, he has pitched largely as a reliever and shown some promise, as his 5.37 ERA over 55 1/3 innings in 2019 was underscored by some much stronger ERA predictors (3.61 FIP, 4.14 xFIP, 4.07 SIERA), and could have been inflated by a .373 BABIP. With a fastball that barely cracked the 90mph mark, Erlin isn’t a hard thrower, though his 8.46 K/9 in 2019 represents a new career best.
Erlin only just turned 29, and could draw some free agent interest in his new role as a multi-inning reliever. He is projected to make $2MM this winter, in third and final year of arbitration eligibility.