Meet the Padres’ newest Rule 5 pick Stephen Kolek and see who made the cut for the El Paso Chihuahuas roster!

Before the Padres plucked Stephen Kolek from the Mariners' farm system in the Rule 5 draft in December, they had traded him from the Dodgers to Seattle in a minor transaction in April 2021.

The way the exchange was presented to Kolek was as a gesture of courtesy. The Dodgers were out of the picture and the Mariners were willing to take it, but the terms of the transaction would remain a mystery until Kolek made his way to the majors.

That was the deal offered by former Mariners pitching coach Max Weiner, now the pitching coach at Kolek's alma mater at Texas A&M, and that momentous occasion came last week in the Seoul Series.

Among the congratulatory messages was the answer that Kolek had long wondered about:

Kolek cost the Mariners… $1.

Consider it a footnote in an unlikely path to a contender's bullpen as a Rule 5 pick.

“I'm very proud of it,” Kolek said. “It's great to look around the locker room and see the great talent we have here, and to be a part of it is something special. “I’m just grateful to be here and excited to get to work…and prove myself.”

It's unlikely because contending teams generally aren't in the market for minor league players who can't force their way onto other teams' 40-man rosters. Typically, Rule 5 picks are positive plays that rebuilding teams try to hide in the majors.

Luis Perdomo. Jabari Blash. Allen Córdoba. Luis Torrens. Miguel Diaz.

These were the players Andy Green was handcuffed to as the Padres shot down AJ Preller's first attempt at building a winner.

The opportunity for Kolek is quite different. Mike Shildt's Padres hope to compete, and with Steven Wilson traded in mid-March in the Dylan Cease deal, there's a giant hole in middle relief up for grabs.

“Shildty, every time I've talked to him, it's like the bullpen roles this year are a little more in play,” Kolek said. “There are no fixed roles as to who will come in and when. “Just be prepared for any opportunity.”

To that end, Kolek worked his way into the Padres' plans by striking out seven in 6⅔ scoreless innings this spring after a crash introductory course to the organization that saw him get married in January, participate in Joe's pitching camp Musgrove three days later and headed to spring training shortly after that.

At least the Seoul Series gave Kolek and his new wife Jessica a mini honeymoon (to be determined in reality) in the midst of a memorable MLB debut.

With the Padres using seven relievers in that first game in South Korea, Kolek was called up in the eighth inning of a late, close game. He gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning, but still gave the lead to Robert Suárez, the only owner of a regular role in the Padres bullpen so far.

Kolek's future in the organization is far from guaranteed, as he must remain on the Padres' active roster or be offered back to the Mariners like Blash and so many others have been over the years as Rule Picks. 5.

For now, Kolek is happy to compete for his spot in the pecking order of the Padres' revamped bullpen.

“There are a lot of things you can get caught up in,” Kolek said. “I'm just trying to stick to the process of doing what I can to prepare every day and take it day by day. The rest will take care of itself.”

Triple-A El Paso establishes roster

With the Triple-A season beginning on Friday, the El Paso Chihuahuas announced their roster with one expected but notable absence: Woo Suk Go.

While Go had been traded to Triple-A El Paso during the Seoul Series, it remained unlikely that he would begin his season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League rather than a much safer landing spot. in Double-A San Antonio. In fact, the only pitcher among's top 30 Padres prospects headed to El Paso is the reliever. alek jacob (19).

The complete Chihuahuas roster is as follows:

Launchers (18): RHP Lake Bachar, RHP Daniel Camarena, RHP Ryan Carpenter, RHP Austin Davis, RHP Jeremiah Estrada, RHP Matt Festa, RHP Paul Fry, RHP Logan Gillaspie, RHP Jay Groome, RHP Nick Hernandez, RHP Alek Jacob (19), RHP Kevin Kopps , PI Adrián Morejón, PD Gabe Mosser, PD Sean Reynolds, PD Randy Vasquez, PD Nolan Watson.

Receivers (3): Kevin Plawecki, Chandler Seagle, Brett Sullivan.

Infielders (4): Matthew Batten, Clay Dungan, Mason McCoy, Nate Mondou.

Gardeners (5): Bryce Johnson, Tim Locastro, Oscar Mercado, Cal Mitchell, Tirso Ornelas (30).

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