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.
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.
Friedrich suffered his 11th loss of the season Thursday versus the Giants, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six across seven innings. The lefty turned in one of his better outings of the season Thursday, but he took a hard-luck loss as Jeff Samardzija tossed a gem on the other side. Friedrich has alternated strong home starts with poor away starts over his last four, and he will look to finish the regular season on a high note as the Padres host the Dodgers on Thursday.
Friedrich allowed four runs on six hits and two walks across five innings Friday versus the Rockies. He struck out five and did not factor into the decision. Freidrich was quite effective aside from the second inning, when the entirety of the damage against him was done as he allowed five consecutive Rockies to reach after recording the first two outs. Friedrich has posted rather pedestrian numbers this season, as he owns a 4.78 ERA and a 5-10 record to go along with a middling 7.04 K/9 rate across 116.2 innings. His next start will come Thursday against the Giants.
Friedrich is listed as the probable starter Saturday against the Rockies. He is nearing a permanent move to the bullpen in an effort to manage his innings over the rest of the season, but he will apparently make at least one more start before making that move. Friedrich is best left on waivers in most formats, as he has a 5.48 ERA with just 31 strikeouts in 44.1 innings at home this season, and he will host a potent Rockies offense Saturday.