This is why you didn’t trade Tim Stauffer …

OK, so that’s a really long headline, isn’t it?

Well, looking to capture the mood after the latest round of bad news involving Chris Young, it seems appropriate.

We’re not that removed from the end of Spring Training that I can’t remember when fans were calling for the Padres to deal from a position of strength — a rare position of strength, at that — and deal away pitcher Tim Stauffer.

Aren’t you glad they didn’t now?

It’s funny how we make sure a big deal about who is in the starting rotation to open the year but never really care much who will be in it on May 5, July 5 or when Oct. 1. The fact is the Padres explored dealing Stauffer but weren’t satisfied with the return haul they would get in return.

So they kept him, and, boy, they need him now. Not just Stauffer, mind you, but left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who had another quality outing on Tuesday, despite a few rough spots along the way.

The point is you can never have too much pitching. And no matter who begins the season in your rotation, it’s about who stays there. 

I’m not sure what will come of Young’s latest shoulder dilemma — no one is at this point, as MRI’s are being looked at and discussed. I will say this: I have a gut feeling it isn’t good.

We will know more in the coming days, but I fear we’ve seen the last of Young for a while.

I don’t know too many teams that can absorb the loss of one of their top pitchers. But these Padres might be able to do it, especially if LeBlanc continues to command his fastball and another young pitcher, 22-year-old Mat Latos, can string together several good starts.

I’ve read a lot about the Padres decision to move Chase Headley into the No. 4 spot in the lineup behind Adrian Gonzalez — where he’s performed well in a small sample size, such as Tuesday night — as the key turning point of the season.

I disagree. The turning point, for me, takes place every time a starting pitcher works into or past the sixth inning and turns in a quality start before turning the ball over to Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell.

That will win you more games than anything else, especially at PETCO Park.

Speaking of pitching depth, consider what’s going on in Triple-A Portland. Radhames Liz is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 21 innings. Will Inman finally looks to have figured things out on the command side. He’s 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA with 13 hits allowed in 21 innings. Even Cesar Carrillo (1-2, 3.24) is pitching well.

Remember these names. They weren’t in the starting rotation on April 5, but they’ll no doubt appear in the starting rotation at some point.

Story of the season so far? It’s pitching. There’s depth here, and from looks alone and from everything I’m hearing, it’s quality depth. That hasn’t happened here in a long time.

— Corey Brock, MLB.com
 

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