The San Diego Padres have reportedly already been in contact with somewhere around 50 free agents this off-season.
A.J. Preller is not shy about making moves, as he is in a constant quest to make the Friars better. The man never sleeps and is always scouting around the globe. You can be sure that every player in this free agent class has been scouted by Preller and his staff. They know exactly who these men are and what their value is.
The team has needs, but shortstop and starting pitchers are not the only desire as this team constructs itself for the 2018 season.
Here is a glimpse at each position and a look at the free agents that are available.
The team released Hector Sanchez from their 40-man roster a few weeks ago. Currently the Padres have Rocky Gale and Luis Torrens on the 40-man roster as catchers. Torrens will likely go back the minors after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft from the Yankees in 2017. Gale is not a coveted backstop, so you can surely see the Padres looking for options to back up Austin Hedges.
Of all the catchers on the open market, Sanchez makes the most sense. He is an offensive weapon and someone who can work with young Latin talent. He was the perfect complement to Hedges, but you can understand why he wanted to look for a full-time gig. The Padres could consider bringing him back if he is unable to secure a deal with anyone else. Beyond Sanchez, Miguel Montero could be of use, but he was DFA’d by the Cubs last season for not being a team player. Not exactly the player you want to be around a bunch of young kids.
Lucroy is a great option as he is undervalued at the moment, but he will surely want a full-time gig. Maybe once the Padres are competitive, they might consider an option like this. For now, he would require too much money to sit the bench on most nights. The Padres probably want a left-handed-hitting compliment to the defensive-minded Hedges but if the fit isn’t there, Carlos Ruiz and Nick Hundley make some sense. All in all, the team will not pay a lot for a backup catcher. Instead they will just wait and see who needs a job come late January and early February.
The Hosmer rumors came out last week as the Padres surely want to stay in the fan base’s mind during the long off-season. Eric Hosmer should not be offered a long-term deal by this club. He is not a great fit. The team can hardly afford to lose a draft pick and they really do not want to invest over $100 million dollars to one single player.
Wil Myers is entrenched at the position, so it really seems unlikely the team goes after an everyday option. If they were, Carlos Santana makes way more sense than Hosmer. He could provide equal value for a fraction of the price. He would not come to the Padres either, as the team just isn’t built to win now.
If they want to flirt with bench options, Adam Lind and John Jaso make sense. Both have played left field in their past, but are probably more likely first baseman solely. They could give the team a veteran left-handed presence and a player who could be of value come trade season. Alex Dickerson can play first, so the team has no real need for a backup. Though they could bring in some veterans during the spring to take a look at.
The San Diego Padres are not in the need of a second baseman. Cory Spangenberg, Yangervis Solarte, Jose Pirela, and Carlos Asuaje are all capable of playing the position. The team will likely deal one of them this off-season, as there is not enough playing time for all these infielders. Preller will be busy this winter fielding offers on these young men.
Of all these free agents, Neil Walker is an interesting option as he is a left-handed hitter. He had a down year in 2017 and could be in store for a better year in 2018 in which his value will increase. Again though, the Padres just have no need for a second baseman.
Luis Urias is also very close to being major league-ready. At his present growth rate, he will be up by the end of the 2018 season. The team will not want to invest any kind of money at the position. You could see some veteran second baseman in camp during the spring, but they would need a trade and an outstanding effort to make this team in 2018. This position is probably the one that has the most depth throughout the system.
PAGE 2 LINK BELOW