The addition to the forty-man roster capped off an impressive year for Wells. He earned California League Pitcher of the Year, Padres' Minor League Pitcher of the Year and is one of the finalist for MadFriars.com Pitcher of the Year – to be announced next month.
The awards are a product of his work on the field this year. He destroyed the California League – turning impressive performances in what is termed a hitter's league. It was anything but when Wells took the mound.
Kottaras continued to confirm the reports that have pegged him as the next everyday catcher in San Diego. He ended up catching in 109 games this year – meeting the requirement of more games behind the dish set by the Padres.
He was his usual self at the plate, a gap hitter with some power who provides a healthier than normal on base percentage for a catcher.
Wells first reaction upon hearing the news was not unexpected:
"I was pretty excited," said Wells. "I was talking to Clay Hensley the other night and asked him how it felt when he got up – When I got the call today it felt like it was a dream. And he said, getting the call up to the Big League team is that times twenty.' That is what I am looking forward to next."
Kottaras was equally excited:
"It is a great feeling," he said. "One step closer."
The one thing that many face now is higher expectations. The Padres felt strongly enough to add them – and performance levels will have to continue to rise.
Neither player, however, wanted to be caught in that web. Pressure has followed each of them since being signed.
"I feel like I have to (perform better)," Wells admitted. "But I have to just keep doing what I have been doing."
Kottaras provided a similar answer. "You cant really put added pressure. To think about it makes it that much more difficult. I am doing the same thing I have been doing to get me this far."
What is next for these two?
"Get ready for spring training and get a spot on the big league team," a confident Wells said.
"It depends what happens in everything else. If they think I am ready. . ."
The first step was the 40-man roster and the next step is the realization of a dream. The work is far from done but Thursday remains a day neither will forget.