Padres Busy Offseason Could Leave Top Prospects in El Paso
No team in baseball has been busier than the San Diego Padres. The team overhauled their starting pitching rotation by trading for Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove. They also signed Korean infield star Ha-Seong Kim to play second base. Although A.J. Preller has been active with player acquisitions, the general manager might have another move or two to make before the start of the 2021 season. All of these transactions could have a big impact on the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Despite not playing at all in 2020, the Triple-A affiliate of the Padres will be back this spring and summer. Major League Baseball completely overhauled the working agreements between their big league teams and minor league affiliates, but San Diego and El Paso will continue to work together for the next decade as they have since 2014.
The Chihuahuas roster is far from decided, but it appears that the Padres will have some of their best young starting pitchers begin the season in El Paso. Lefthander MacKenzie Gore is the top prospect in the Padres system, and he is expected to begin the season in a Chihuahuas uniform. Ryan Weathers, the team's 1st round draft pick in 2018 could join Gore in El Paso, along with fellow top pitching prospects Anderson Espinoza and Mason Thompson.
As far as position players, top prospect Luis Campusano could be behind the plate in El Paso if the Padres chose to only carry two catchers on the 25-man roster. 2019 first round pick CJ Abrams is probably a year away from debuting with the Chihuahuas, but outfielder Jorge Ona should be blasting baseballs out of Southwest University Park in April.
The Triple-A season is expected to start up in early April and a schedule of between 140 and 144 games should be finalized in the next few weeks. Baseball season can't return to El Paso soon enough.