Espada, 27 in February, made his major league debut in the season’s final week. The Padres added him to the 40-man roster at the end of September. He pitched once, throwing a scoreless inning to punctuate a victory over the Cardinals. He struck out a pair while issuing two walks.
While he has only received that cup of coffee at the highest level, Espada has been in the professional ranks since 2015. He spent time in the Red Sox and Blue Jays organizations before joining the Padres out of independent ball in 2022. The Puerto Rico native had his strongest season this year. Working in a multi-inning capacity, he combined for a 2.81 ERA in 83 1/3 frames between Double-A and Triple-A. Espada fanned an excellent 32.3% of opponents in the minors, although he paired that with a notable 12.5% walk rate.
Espada will look to build off that generally strong performance as he seeks another spot on the 40-man roster. He has a full slate of minor league options, so the Friars could move him between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso if they reselect his contract at any point.