To account for the decision on Mitchell, the club has moved fellow righty Jordan Lyles into the rotation for at least one start, veteran Padres writer Bill Center tweets. Meanwhile, lefty Matt Strahm was activated from the DL to step in for Makita.
These moves reflect the disappointing initial showings of two of the Padres’ most significant offseason pitching additions. Mitchell was the key piece acquired in a trade in which the Friars agreed to take over the remaining $13MM owed to Chase Headley, while Makita signed for $3.8MM over two years (plus a $500K posting fee).
In the case of Mitchell, who is out of options, the results have been awful thus far. He’s carrying a 6.47 ERA with 4.5 K/9 against 7.3 BB/9 in 32 frames over seven starts. His swinging-strike rate, which has never been very compelling in the majors, is down to just 5.0%.
Though Acee writes that the organization still believes in Mitchell and even thinks he could yet be a big-league starter, he’ll need to show something to earn another opportunity. For now, it’ll be Lyles who gets another crack at working from the rotation, though it’s unclear whether he’ll receive an extended shot. He’s still just 27 years of age and broke into the majors as a starter, but has not yet shown that he can hold down a job working every fifth day.
As for the 33-year-old Makita, a veteran of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball but a MLB rookie, he’s shown both some good and bad to open the year. He’s sporting a healthy 15.4% swinging-strike rate and 9.6 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 over his 16 innings. While a 6.75 ERA is never a good sign, in this case the damage is mostly isolated to a pair of rough outing and is surely a reflection in some part of a 58.5% strand rate that likely will go down. Makita needs to pare back the long balls (1.69 HR/9, 20.0% HR/FB) as well, but generally his unique, soft-tossing pitch mix has shown a fair bit of promise of playing in the majors.
Strahm, meanwhile, will look to make good on his long-observed talent. He was part of the interesting swap swung last year between the Padres and Royals. Strahm, who did not debut with the San Diego organization until 2018, has impressed in 14 1/3 innings this year at Double-A, allowing four earned runs while running a 22:4 K/BB ratio. Though he was knocked around in his debut outing last night, he figures to get a real chance to stick in the bigs.