Padres Six-Year Free Agents

The San Diego Padres have a number of players who are slated to be six-year minor league free agents. We take a look at each and wonder who, if any, will return.

Paul Abraham

The right-hander underwent surgery to his throwing arm and is out indefinitely. There were concerns that his career might be over. Abraham, when healthy, has a plus fastball and slider but struggled with control of his pitches in 2008. His is a case that will be determined after he recovers, as his arm is valuable but the current expense does not warrant him being re-signed.

Chip Ambres

While he ended the year on the 40-man roster, Ambres sticking on it is unlikely. The team has other outfielders that are above him on the depth chart, despite leading Triple-A in most offensive categories. He does a lot of things well and could get a shot with someone; it just doesn't appear that will happen in San Diego.

Philip Barzilla

A mid-season addition to Double-A, Barzilla does not have overpowering stuff. In fact, he doesn't really have a plus pitch. What the lefty does do is command the strike zone effectively while keeping hitters off-balance with his ability to throw his off-speed pitches over the plate. There are other options in six-year free agency, making it unlikely he returns.

Adam Bass

From start to finish, Bass struggled mightily in Triple-A. Bass features a fastball that can reach the mid-90s while also throwing a slider and change. The slider is his out pitch but he struggled with throwing two good ones in a row and was erratic with his changeup – on the rare times he used it. With the Padres emphasis on control, Bass will not be back.

Peter Ciofrone

Improving every year since joining the system, Ciofrone set a career-high in homers and seems to be taking flight. He understands the strike zone and has a good foundation and approach at the dish. The problem has always been finding him a position to play. As much damage as he is capable of with the bat, Ciofrone has been considered a liability in the field and the Padres love having versatility in their people. Ciofrone will move on.

J.D. Closser

Signed late in the year due to the rash of injuries at the catching position with both Triple-A catchers moving to the big leagues, Closser was a fill in that could log some innings. He has never lived up to his billing as a fifth-round pick in 1998, and the Padres will look elsewhere for stability in Portland.

Bryan Corey

When your best pitch is the changeup, there is not a lot of room for error. Having to pitch to contact, Corey has to hit his spots with regularity to be effective. He had his chance in San Diego and did not impress. Corey will not be back.

Brian Falkenborg

The Padres thought enough of him to bring him back for a second tour of duty and used him at the big league level. He has a plus fastball and solid secondary pitches, making him quite useful in a pinch. It would not be a stretch to see him come back with a invite to spring and a shot at winning a bullpen spot.

Justin Germano

Signed after spring training with a golden opportunity to contribute with the big league club, Germano disappointed. Ironically, he was the same pitcher as always with fringe stuff across the board. His second tour with San Diego was his last.

Enrique Gonzalez

While he spent time as a starter in Arizona and again in Triple-A Portland, Gonzalez' repertoire suggests he is better in short spurts. He has a plus fastball and darting slider but consistency with command is an issue. His strong second half suggests he is figuring it out and San Diego should look at re-signing him to reap the rewards.

Sean Henn

Henn has always been a guy that evaluators considered to have plus stuff across the board, but harnessing his repertoire and throwing strikes consistently has eluded him. The Padres won't wait for him to find that, especially with walks troubling the big league squad in 2008.

Justin Huber

The outfielder – and former catcher – got his chance with the big league squad this season but did not capitalize on the chance. When rosters expanded and Huber was left out, it all but sealed his fate.

Jose Lobaton

With catchers going down early and often, the Padres signed several stopgaps along the way. Lobaton wasn't one of those and was starting over Colt Morton in Double-A. He has a rocket arm and developing bat with some pop. As catcher is the most difficult position to fill, Lobaton is a good candidate to return. It depends on what he sees his worth as compared to those catchers on the open market.

Gabe Lopez

Lopez was signed early in the year and provided a nice season for the Missions after being released in Spring Training. Those two distinct opposites play against him now. He isn't a prototypical leadoff hitter and has zero pop. With the prospects behind him moving up a notch, Lopez has nowhere to play, regardless of whether Matt Antonelli is on the big league club or not.

Paul McAnulty

Making the club in spring for the second year in a row, McAnulty never adapted to a role as a pinch hitter and the Padres had no room to play him daily. A pure hitter that can get into a rhythm and go on a prolonged hitting tear, the Padres made it clear he was not in their future plans when he was not brought up to San Diego as rosters expanded.

Marshall McDougall

Before getting injured, McDougall had a chance to show he matched patience and some pop in an effort to turn heads. But, his season was cut short early. There is a definitive need for depth at third base at the upper levels of the minors but whether McDougal fits into those plans is in question.

Brian Myrow

First base is the only position that Myrow can play and that hurts his chances of returning with Kyle Blanks on the doorstep. Myrow is a player that fits the Padres mold of patiently aggressive and has a terrific approach. He saw some time in San Diego as a result. With Adrian Gonzalez entrenched in the bigs and Blanks on his heels, it seems doubtful that there is a spot for Myrow.

Jonathan Schemmel

He plays just about every position on the field and that is invaluable. Schemmel, who missed much of the year with injury, may be the odd man out as the youth continues to rise in the system and the homegrown talent gets the nod over the journeyman veteran.

Shawn Wooten

A veteran presence on the Portland roster after being signed in May, Wooten's big league service time and willingness to help the youth serves him well for a return engagement. He is good with young pitchers and knows his role. San Diego should look at re-signing the backstop.

Mauro Zarate

A sinkerball pitcher that throws uses a two-seam fastball with late life and a cut fastball as well as a changeup that has improved significantly, Zarate didn't have a great season in Portland after dominating San Antonio. With his ability to pitch down in the zone, the Venezuelan deserves another look.

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