There is no doubt the San Diego Padres will add some outfielders to the roster this winter. Here are ten free agents to consider.
A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres are very busy this winter.
The team had several concerns as the 2021 season concluded. A new manager was required, and the Padres did well to secure the services of Bob Melvin.
Now that a new skipper is at the helm, it is time to take a serious look at the roster.
Presently, the Padres have a total of five men capable of playing outfield and one of the rostered players in Jorge Ona. Wil Myers, Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar, and Adam Frazier are the other four men on the Padres roster who are considered outfielders. There is no doubt that the Padres will need to some outfielders into the mix.
It is also important to remember that the DH could be a real possibility in the NL this coming season. There will be a need to add more offense to the Padres roster.
Here are ten names to consider for the Friars. Each player is a free agent and available to sign with whoever they want.
Nick Castellanos– 2021 WAR total 3.2
If the Padres want to spend big, Castellanos is arguably the best hitter available. The right-handed hitter opted out of a 2-year/$32 million earlier this month. The 30-year-old essentially turned down $34 million for two years if you count the buyout option for the 2024 season, which was on his previous contract. Castellanos will surely command a $100 million contract or more for five years. Will he get it? It’s likely.
In 2021, Castellanos slugged his career-high in homers (34) with the Reds. He also recorded a .929 OPS in 531 at-bats and 138 games. The converted third baseman is not blessed with great speed. His outfield defense is best described as adequate. Make no mistake, Castellanos’ value lies in his bat. There is potential for him to get better in time as his offensive game keeps improving with more playing time.
The Padres would need to clear a ton of payroll, and the DH would need to come into play in the National League for this to come to fruition. Castellanos’ defense will only get worse as he ages. The right-handed hitter is likely a DH moving forward who can occasionally play the field. Padres’ fans would love for the team to sign Castellanos, but there are too many other holes that a potential $100 million would fill on the roster.
Michael Conforto– 2021 WAR total 0.8
There is a lot to like about Conforto, who is an interesting option for the Padres. The left-handed hitter would fit nicely in the middle of the Padres lineup, but Conforto battles consistency issues. The 29-year-old rejected his qualifying offer from the Mets worth around $18.4 million. It will cost a team a compensation pick to sign the outfielder which is not the most appealing of situations.
Conforto broke out in 2017, recording a .939 OPS for the Mets in 109 games. He was selected to the All-Star team at the age of 24 and was considered one of the rising stars of the league. His numbers declined the next year, only to improve in 2019 and 2020, where he recorded an OPS of .856 and .927, respectively. Last season Conforto’s slash line fell to .232/.356/.468 with a .729 OPS. Not ideal heading into a contract year, but most point to his analytical numbers as a saving grace. He hit the ball very hard last year but was the victim of bad luck.
Conforto will likely look for a deal over $100 million, and he should get it. He is one of the younger free agents to hit the market and should be able to play at a high level for the next four or fives years. The Padres will kick the tires on Conforto, but ultimately the asking price might be too much. The draft pick is also a factor to some degree as A.J. Preller and the Padres surely value those. Conforto makes sense for the Padres, but the price tag may be too much for San Diego.
Kris Bryant– 2021 WAR total 3.3
Bryant has arguably the most talent of anybody on this list. There is Hall-of-Fame potential with this right-handed hitter. The last few years have been tough for Bryant as his numbers fell across the board, and he has been affected by injuries. The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year and 2016 NL MVP is still a really valuable player, but his power numbers are down, and he may never be a .300 hitter. Of all the players on this first page, Bryant should get the biggest contract.
In recent years, Bryant has played a lot in the outfield. For the Giants last year, the versatile player even played center field. At this point, Bryant can play corner infield and outfield and occasional centerfield. The four-time All-Star will be 30 next season and surely has a few great years left in his bat.
If two teams get into a bidding war, it is not out of the question for Bryant to earn upwards of $150 million this winter. A six or seven-year deal is probably the goal for him. The Padres would have a hard time justifying another big contract. However, the USD product is a rare type of player. He may be a little old for free agency, but the potential is unreal. Have we seen the best out of Kris Bryant? One team will pay a hefty price to find out.
Starling Marte- 2021 WAR total 4.7
This right-handed hitter stole 47 bases last year, displaying the legs of a young player. Marte is 33 and is no spring chicken. There is value, but his age limits the contract years and cost. A team may want to add him as Marte can play all three outfield positions and owns a career .797 OPS. Marte is a plus defender, and his offensive numbers are getting a little better with age.
Marte put up a hefty WAR last year in 120 games between Miami and Oakland. The outfielder often battles injury issues but played in all 61 games in 2020 during the pandemic year. Marte is a gap-to-gap hitter with tremendous speed. However, he does not walk much is not extremely useful at the top of the order. The Padres have had plenty of opportunities to acquire Marte over the past two seasons, but nothing has ever surfaced. You get the feeling that the Padres do not value him.
There is an ability with Marte, and he should get paid decently this winter. The plus defender will likely get a multiple-year deal somewhere. The Padres may have interest if his value falls and he is available late in the free agency period. They will probably not want to pay top dollar for Marte. If Marte is jobless come March, the Padres may be enticed to offer him an incentive-based deal.
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