The Padres signed Christian Friedrich to a minor league deal in March and the start of his 2016 campaign was delayed by injury. With a mere five wins and poor ratios to boot, few rotisserie league owners were able to extract as much value from Friedrich's left arm as the Padres managed to over his 24 appearances (1.8 fWAR). Friedrich's success hinges on the quality of his slider and changeup, as he doesn't overpower opposing hitters with his fastball, and his curveball has never been a consistently good offering. Friedrich should be considered a frontrunner to begin 2017 as one of the team's rotation members. Long term, however, his eventual landing place may be the bullpen, as he showed much better splits against lefties (21.1 percent strikeout rate, 6.5 percent walk rate) than he did against righties (16.7 percent strikeout rate, 9.9 percent walk rate) last season.
Freidrich has been shut down for 1-2 weeks with a mild lat strain and won't make the Opening Day roster, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. The left-hander was battling for a starting pitcher job Friedrich carried a 4.80 ERA in 24 outings (23 starts) with San Diego last year but now must participate in rehab to find out what his next step will be with the organization. San Diego is now down to Trevor Cahill, Jarrett Cosart and Luis Perdomo for its final two rotation spots to start the year.
Friedrich has been scratched from a bullpen session Sunday with "general soreness" in his arm, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. With the vague diagnosis, it's difficult to gauge just how serious this missed bullpen session is. Until more news becomes available, Friedrich will be considered as day-to-day.
Friedrich pitched three scoreless innings in Friday's win over the Dodgers. He struck out three and walked none. This was a huge step in the right direction for the veteran southpaw, after surrendering eight runs in his previous two Cactus League outings. Manager Andy Green noticed his pitcher's struggles this spring, stating that Friedrich "hasn't felt like himself." The Padres' skipper also added that "[Friedrich] looked a little bit sharper today." Friedrich is currently competing for one of San Diego's final rotation spots, and he will need more outings like Friday's in order for the club to consider him as a serious option.
Friedrich -- who is competing for a spot in the starting rotation -- could be used in the bullpen if he doesn't make it as a starter, AJ Casavell of MLB.com reports. Friedrich got a long look as a starter last season and didn't do much with his opportunity, posting a 4.80 ERA with a 1.92 K/BB ratio. While the numbers weren't pretty, he does have have the advantage of being a southpaw in the competition for rotation spots. If he does make it as a starter, he would only garner very deep or NL-only value.
Friedrich agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres on Friday, avoiding arbitration. The terms of the agreement were not made public by the Padres. Friedrich posted a 4.80 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and dismal 100:52 K:BB in 129.1 innings last season, primarily as a starter. Despite those underwhelming numbers, he still projects to open the season in the Padres' rotation, but lacks fantasy appeal in most formats.