7:27pm: MLBTR’s Steve Adams relays the financials of the deal. If Petit is selected to the majors, he’ll have a base salary of $1.5MM with a further $500K available in incentives.
4:38 pm: The Padres are in agreement with reliever Yusmeiro Petit on a minor league contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (Twitter link). The 14-year MLB veteran will try to work his way back to the big leagues with San Diego.
Padres skipper Bob Melvin is plenty familiar with Petit, having managed him with the A’s for the past four seasons. The right-hander was a durable and productive bullpen arm throughout that run, tossing 275 2/3 innings of 3.07 ERA ball. No pitcher in MLB has made more appearances or soaked up more innings of relief since the start of 2018.
Given Petit’s reliability, it’s a bit of a surprise he spent the entire offseason on the open market and didn’t receive a guaranteed roster spot. The 37-year-old doesn’t fit the typical late-innings mold, however, which apparently gave teams trepidation. Petit averaged just 87.7 MPH on his fastball last season, and his 11.3% strikeout rate was the second-lowest mark among 255 relievers with 30+ innings pitched. His 10.1% swinging strike rate was also below-average but not nearly as extreme as his strikeout tally. That offers some hope he might be able to push his strikeout rate closer to the 17.6% figure he posted from 2019-21.
Petit’s bottom line numbers have no doubt been aided by Oakland’s large home ballpark and the elite defenses that lined up behind him for most of his tenure in the Bay Area. That said, he hasn’t walked more than 6% of batters faced in a season since moving to the bullpen full-time with the Giants in 2015. He also held opponents to a meager 86.5 MPH average exit velocity and 30% hard contact rate last season, both of which were lower than the respective 88.3 MPH and 35.5% league marks. Even without swing-and-miss stuff, he’s found ways to be effective.
San Diego’s bullpen has struggled to prevent runs thus far, as their 4.12 ERA is 25th in MLB. They’ve been good from a strikeout and walk perspective but have proven vulnerable to home runs. More importantly, they’ve subtracted three righties from the season-opening group. Pierce Johnson and Austin Adams are on the injured list, while Javy Guerra was designated for assignment and then traded to the Rays. Those losses could eventually open a spot for Petit, although he’ll presumably first need some time to build into game shape after the delayed start to the season.