Colin Rea admits that when the San Diego Padres didn’t bring him up to the big leagues with a September call-up, he figured something was up. That “something” came to fruition when the Padres cut ties with the 28-year-old Cascade native when they designated Rea for assignment in November, removing him from the club’s 40-man major league roster.
He said a couple of hours before the decision, there was a rumor he could be traded. “My agent (Joe Speed) thought something might happen,” Rea explained. “In the weeks leading up to their decision, we figured since we didn’t get a September call-up that the Padres were moving in a different direction from us.”
Rea threw well in the second half of his Triple-A season with the Padres’ affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas, allowing five runs in his last six starts.
Rea continues to try to work his way back to the major leagues after having Tommy John surgery two years ago. In addition, he dealt with shoulder tightness during part of the 2018 season.
“Since I had the shoulder issue, when the Padres designated me, they released me. So I am a minor league free agent now and can sign with any team.”
Rea had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment on his shoulder this fall and will begin his off-season throwing program in a week. It’s possible the delay in off-season work could delay him in spring training. “The shoulder feels alright, but it’s kind of a stalemate. I won’t really know how it feels until I play catch.”
Rea said several teams have contacted him about signing with them, although he declined to name any of them. “A couple of teams have already made offers, while a couple other teams want to see me throw first before making an offer.”
Rea said he and his agent are trying to determine which club might be the best fit. “We’re trying to figure out what’s the best opportunity as far as depth at the upper level of their minor league clubs. We’re going over the decisions pretty heavily, trying to make the right one.”
Rea said general managers or assistant general managers have been in contact with his agent. “I’ve gotten a call or two, including a couple from big league managers. But mostly they go through him. He’s the middle man.”
Rea knows he will be in spring training somewhere and he’s excited about the year. “I’m just over 24 months from Tommy John surgery. They say that is when everything goes back to normal. I feel strong other than the shoulder.”
He also knows he needs to have a good spring. “I expect big things from myself. I have to have a good one if I want to extend my career.”