June 25, 2024

New San Diego Padres addition Michael King is setting high goals for his inaugural season with the team. The former New York Yankee was part of a trade that brought him, along with several other players, to the Padres in exchange for Juan Soto and Trent Grisham.

Now wearing Padres colors, King is focused on further developing his skills as a starting pitcher. During his time with the Yankees in 2023, King had the opportunity to showcase his abilities as a starter, particularly due to injuries, and managed to achieve a commendable 2.75 ERA. Heading into the 2024 season, he has the chance to slot in as the No. 3 starter in the rotation for the Padres and intends to make the most of it.

“I keep telling [pitching coach] Ruben (Niebla) whenever he mentions something like 150 to 180 innings, I’m like ‘Nope, 180 to 200 innings pitched this season,’” King expressed. “I believe that the most valuable contribution a starting pitcher can make is in terms of innings pitched. Especially in my case. While I aspire to become a top-tier starter, for now, I recognize that I’m behind (Yu) Darvish and (Joe) Musgrove in the rotation. My role currently is to ensure that I provide sufficient innings for the team — whether it’s to support the bullpen or otherwise — while learning from these experienced pitchers and aiming to eventually join their ranks.”

King elaborated, emphasizing the significance of a No. 3 starter being able to deliver around 180 innings, which he believes would greatly benefit the team’s overall performance.

King appears determined to make the most of his opportunity and make significant contributions to the Padres in 2024. With the Padres’ pitching rotation not as deep as some others, King has the chance to establish himself as one of their top pitchers, particularly if he can build on his performance from 2023.

He is also mindful of his role within the rotation, especially considering the potential presence of younger players behind him. King emphasized the importance of consistency, stating, “Especially with how our fourth or fifth spot could feature very young players. You don’t know what you’re gonna get out of them. So if I can provide that consistency — six innings every time out — I’d be very happy.” This focus on reliability underscores King’s commitment to supporting the team and helping to stabilize the rotation, particularly in the face of potential uncertainties.

Barring any health concerns, King seems to have secured the Padres’ No. 3 spot in the rotation for the 2024 season.

In his first appearance in the Cactus League on Monday, he delivered two scoreless innings, recording one strikeout.

Michael King Wants to Shatter Innings Pitched Career High in Debut Padres Season

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