Padres rotation could be decided by flexibility

Perdomo is only pitcher competing for starting role who has Minor League options

Padres rotation could be decided by flexibility

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In one sense, the Padres have plenty of options for their starting rotation this spring. After all, eight pitchers in camp still have a legitimate chance to crack the Opening Day staff.

In a different sense of the word, however, the Padres could certainly use a few more options.

Among those eight starters, only Luis Perdomo remains eligible to be sent freely to the Minor Leagues. Jarred Cosart, Christian Friedrich and Paul Clemens are all out of options and would likely be placed on waivers if they don't break camp with the club.

"We see value in every one of these guys, and you end up losing Jarred Cosart or you end up losing Christian Friedrich if you choose to not have them on your Opening Day roster," Padres manager Andy Green said. "At the same time, we're letting guys compete for roster spots and step up and win them."

Jhoulys Chacin, Jered Weaver and Clayton Richard have already secured their rotation places, according to Green. Perdomo, meanwhile, has been the Padres' most impressive starter this spring.

With the rotation filling up fast, the Padres have spoken about putting one or two of their starters in the bullpen. Clemens, Friedrich and Trevor Cahill all have plenty of relief experience. That, however, would limit the Padres' other bullpen options, including Craig Stammen and Jose Torres, who have been very impressive this spring.

"All those guys fall into that category of guys vying for the last spot in the rotation or the bullpen spots," Green said. "It'd be impossible to predict right now. We might look at guys like Jose Torres that have thrown the ball incredibly well in camp, and say, 'This guy's earned the right to be on a Major League club.' But we might choose to hold onto some guys. ... It'll clear up at the end of the month."

Friedrich is currently battling arm soreness. If he isn't healthy by Opening Day, that would potentially free up a roster spot. Green and the Padres would still be left with decisions to make, though.

Clemens and Friedrich, for instance, have struggled this spring. But the Padres would risk losing them on waivers if they are designated for assignment. Perdomo, meanwhile, could be easily shuttled between Triple-A and the big leagues.

To their credit, the Padres' pitchers are keen to avoid looking at the big picture.

"I know everyone's kind of wondering about the rotation -- friends, family, other people," said Cosart, who allowed two runs over four innings in Sunday's loss. "I'm trying to take it day by day, pitch by pitch. ... Everyone's trying to be their own guy. We think we're all capable. It's just going to be decisions at the end."

"Decisions" is one way of putting it. "Options" might be more appropriate.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.