Padres have options with Worrell
Righty acquisition may leave closer's role behind
Mark Worrell, acquired by the Padres in the deal sending Khalil Greene to the Cardinals on Thursday, has racked up 84 saves since St. Louis selected him in the 12th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida International University. But his role in San Diego is far from set in stone.
Minor League closers aren't necessarily thought of as guys who would serve the same role when and if they get to the big leagues, and that might be the case with Worrell. It's more likely that the right-hander would serve in the setup or middle-relief role he's held the past two years in Triple-A.Worrell uses an unorthodox delivery and several arm angles to create maximum deception on the mound. His fastball usually sits in the 88-89-mph range, and his effectiveness comes from deception rather than velocity. He also throws an above-average slider and a changeup. He's done nothing but relieve in his pro career, making 241 appearances and posting a 2.93 ERA while making his way up the Cardinals' ladder. He's struck out 331 in 281 2/3 innings in the Minors and has allowed just 214 hits in that span. His best overall season may have been his first full one, in 2005. Closing for Class A Palm Beach in the Florida State League, Worrell led the Minor Leagues with 35 saves and had a 2.25 ERA. He followed that up with 27 more saves in 2006, though his overall season wasn't quite as successful. In terms of future role, perhaps the most telling stat might be Worrell's success against right-handed hitters. While he certainly hasn't let lefties feast off him (.234 average against), he's been even stingier vs. righties, allowing just a .208 batting average in his four full seasons of Minor League ball.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.