The Padres released their Opening Day roster today, and there were some things that we speculated on (four catchers!) and other things we didn’t necessarily expect (Margot in the majors, Spangenberg in the minors). Let’s attempt to sort it out.
Four catchers! Four catchers?
When the Padres initially announced that Christian Bethancourt would be making a go at turning into a two-way player, I thought there was a chance they’d only carry two catchers. Austin Hedges would be the go-to guy, and Bethancourt would serve as the backup while sometimes pitching and filling in the outfield. That strategy would have been bold and possibly too demanding. Could Bethancourt handle catching duties a night after pitching an inning (or vice versa), for instance?
Instead, the Padres have opted to go in the complete opposite direction. To start the season, they’re going to carry three true catchers (Hedges, Rule 5-er Luis Torrens, and veteran Hector Sanchez) plus Bethancourt. Frankly, it’s unclear why. It does seem like Bethancourt is being converted more into a reliever than any type of legit two-way player (boo), but that still doesn’t answer the question of why the Padres need an additional three backstops.