Padres add 4 prospects to 40-man roster

Padres add 4 prospects to 40-man roster

SAN DIEGO -- With the Winter Meetings on the horizon, the Padres added four prospects to their 40-man roster on Friday, protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Right-handed pitchers Walker Lockett and Jose Ruiz, shortstop Javier Guerra and outfielder Franchy Cordero had their contracts selected by the team.

To clear room, righty reliever Leonel Campos was placed on waivers, where he was claimed by the Blue Jays. Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was designated for assignment and backup first baseman Brett Wallace was outrighted to Triple-A, though he opted for free agency instead.

With the moves, the Padres' 40-man roster is full. However, if they'd like to make any picks in the Rule 5 Draft -- which takes place Dec. 8, the final day of the Winter Meetings -- they still have time to trim their roster.

Any players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on a Major League roster through the entire season or be offered back to the original club. Last season, the Padres made four selections -- including right-hander Luis Perdomo, arguably their best pitcher during the second half of the season. 

As for the four protected players, Guerra is the biggest name. The Padres acquired the 21-year-old shortstop from Boston in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He struggled in his first season in the Padres' system, batting .202/.264/.325 for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. But, as the club's No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, his upside was simply too great to risk losing him.

Guerra's homer drives in two

"He's a shortstop that has the potential to hit double-digit home runs," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said last week. "But understanding when and how to use that power and not sacrifice contact -- he's going to have to understand swing components. He's got to be able to tap into that power consistently, while cutting down the punchouts.

"He dealt with failure this year. That can be a good thing from his standpoint. He's going to go into the offseason, energized to come back. For the first time, he had a situation where he didn't really succeed and perform. We're going to learn a lot about him."

The 22-year-old Lockett is probably the only one of the four with a chance to win a big league job in Spring Training. He posted a 2.96 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP across all four levels of the Padres' Minor League system.

Cordero looked sharp in 2016, batting 290/.344/.450 between three levels. And Ruiz -- who was signed as a catcher in 2011, but has since converted to the mound -- didn't allow a run in 11 appearances at Class A.

Among the 41 players left unprotected, the biggest name is probably 24-year-old right-hander Michael Kelly. He posted a 2.90 ERA in nine starts for Double-A San Antonio, before being promoted to El Paso.

Campos, Arcia and Wallace combined to post -1.5 WAR for the Padres in 2016, and none of those transactions was particularly surprising. With Wallace's departure, the club's entire 40-man roster now consists of players younger than 30.

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.