In a move that’ll come as a surprise to many, the Padres announced that they have optioned right-hander Chris Paddack to Class-A Lake Elsinore. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first reported the move (via Twitter), noting that the Friars are looking for ways to manage Paddack’s workload after he threw just 90 innings in 2018 — his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
Dennis Lin of The Athletic tweets that Paddack isn’t expected to be in the minors long. Assuming he’s back up in fewer than 20 days, the move won’t impact Paddack’s timeline to free agency, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune points out (Twitter links). Acee adds that Paddack is going down merely to rest and is expected to return in 10 days or so (the minimum required length of an optional assignment, barring recall in the event of an injury).
While workload surely was surely the driving force in the decision, Paddack has also fallen into somewhat of a slump after his brilliant start to his rookie campaign. In the past month, the 23-year-old has pitched to a 5.76 ERA with 30 hits and eight home runs allowed in 25 innings. He’s still sporting a stellar 26-to-3 K/BB ratio in that time, but the long ball has been problematic of late.
Paddack’s 65 2/3 innings are already within striking distance of last year’s total, so the brief trip to the minors will give him some downtime without forcing the Padres to carry a pitcher they’re trying to deploy minimally for a week or two. Right-hander Robert Stock is up from Triple-A to take his spot on the active roster and will give the Padres a fresh arm in the bullpen. He’s pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 19 1/3 Triple-A innings and collected 27 strikeouts in that time — albeit against 15 walks and three hit batters.