Padres Opening Day Roster For Seoul Series: Top Prospect Jackson Merrill Gets Opportunity

The San Diego Padres Opening Day roster for the Seoul Series features Jackson Merrill, the organization’s top prospect, in position for his MLB debut in center field.

The late Spring Training addition of Dylan Cease bolstered a Padres starting rotation that was in need of another impact arm. The right-hander was highly sought after this offseason with the Chicago White Sox working to rebuild their farm system.

Although Cease is with the Padres in South Korea, he pitched in an exhibition game and therefore was left off their Opening Day roster.

Padres starters on the active roster are Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Michael King and Jhony Brito. The Padres finished second in MLB last season with a 3.73 ERA, but losing Blake Snell to free agency left them with a big void to fill.

They’re likely to stay in the same air following the season, but the group’s production will be heavily relied upon.

On the offensive end, trading away All-Star Juan Soto gives the Padres lineup a much different look. But Merrill’s emergence has him primed to take over as the club’s everyday starting center fielder.

The usual core of Xander Bogaerts, Ha-Seong Kim, Manny Machado, and Fernando Tatis Jr. are the heart of the lineup. Machado isn’t scheduled to open the season at third base, opening the door for non-roster invitee Graham Pauley to get the Opening Day nod at third.

Machado is still cleared to hit, and will be the Padres’ designated hitter in the Seoul Series.

The departure of Josh Hader propels Robert Suarez into the closer role, but his 2023 production left a lot to be desired. His stuff is high-powered, but replacing the best reliever in baseball isn’t an easy task.

Newcomer Woo-Suk Go signed with the Padres in the offseason, adding a right-handed option who carried a 3.68 ERA in his final year in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). But Go struggled in Spring Training and was optioned to Triple-A El Paso, thus he won’t have the opportunity to pitch in his home country.

2024 Padres Opening Day roster

Starting pitchers (5) Jhony Brito, Yu Darvish, Michael King, Joe Musgrove, Randy Vásquez

Relief pitchers (8): Tom Cosgrove, Enyel De Los Santos, Jeremiah Estrada, Stephen Kolek, Adrian Morejon, Yuki Matsui, Wandy Peralta, Robert Suarez

Catchers (2): Luis Campusano, Kyle Higashioka

Infielders (7): Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth, Ha-Seong Kim, Manny Machado, Graham Pauley, Eguy Rosario, Tyler Wade

Outfielders (4): José Azocar, Fernando Tatis Jr., Jackson Merrill, Jurickson Profar

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