An outlook towards the 2021 San Diego Padres

Credit: Padres

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 season did not end as most had hoped, but there is plenty of optimism for the San Diego Padres in regards to their future. 

With a new manager at the helm, a certain amount of uncertainty comes.

The San Diego Padres did not pose a threat in 2020 — or at least that is what most experts of the sport prognosticated before the season finally started.

The exact opposite happened for the Padres, as A.J. Preller’s master recipe finally took hold on a baseball-starved city. It took time for it to all fall into place, but there is no doubt now that the San Diego Padres possess one of the brightest futures in the league. The team is the talk of Major League Baseball and should easily build on that momentum in 2021.

It is difficult to change gears and look into the next season. Especially after a difficult loss. But the Padres have a goal of bringing a championship to San Diego, and Preller is focused on that task. If not for some crippling injuries to the pitching staff, the team could have shocked the world in the 2020 playoffs.

Taking a look at the future for this franchise, let’s first focus on the players who are due for free agency.

Pending  free-agents

Garrett Richards

The writing is on the wall for this veteran pitcher. The Padres, desperate for starting pitching, failed to consider using the right-hander in either crucial playoff series. He came out of the bullpen and did not pitch well as the career starting pitcher was clearly uncomfortable in the task. The Padres gambled on Richards two years ago, and he simply did not work out. You could argue the veteran leadership he brought to the team was key, but in the end, aspects like that have no tangible worth. He will not be back with the team in 2021.

Jurickson Profar

After a slow start (3-for-24 producing a .125 average), Profar was arguably one of the more consistent run producers for the Padres down the stretch. The switch-hitter put up a .351/.380/.500 slash line in the last month of the season, showing that the former top prospect could be in store for a decent payday. Profar is an intriguing option for the Padres in 2021. The team would probably love to retain the versatile player, but he will likely get better financial offers elsewhere. The Padres will explore bringing back Profar, but this is not a certainty.

Trevor Rosenthal

There is no doubt that the right-handed closer fell in love with the city of San Diego. It is safe to say he enjoyed his time with the Padres. The veteran pitcher throws gas and is the perfect fit for a Padres’ team that may need a reliever or two for the 2021 season. In the past winter, Rosenthal signed a one-year deal with the Royals for $ 1 million. There are going to be plenty of suitors for Rosenthal this winter. The Padres may have a leg up on the competition, but they will need to pay at or near fair market value for the 30-year-old pitcher. This should be a top priority for the Padres.

Kirby Yates

The right-hander is very important to the team. His cardboard cutout made the trip to Texas during the playoff season and was even seen in the game’s bullpen area. The pitchers on the staff look up to the veteran, but will the Padres retain his services? An arm injury is a serious thing, but Yates could be brought back in the right circumstances. The right-hander missed out on a huge payday, so he could sign a one-year deal with the hopes of building his value. This will be an interesting subject as the winter season arrives and the Padres start to build their squad.

Jason Castro

There will be no reason to bring back the veteran catcher as the Padres have Austin Nola, Luis Campusano, and Francisco Mejia all on the major league roster. The left-handed-hitting Castro should have no issues finding a job with a team for the coming season. The Padres will likely explore a veteran catcher for the Triple-A level, but Castro is clearly not an option in that regard.

Team option

Mitch Moreland

Moreland is due $3 million for the 2021 season on a team option. The first baseman is an interesting case. There is a $500,000 buyout to allow the left-handed hitter to walk this winter, but you could argue that his salary is an excellent deal for the Padres. Moreland is insurance for Eric Hosmer at first base and provides plenty of veteran playoff experiences for a young team. The Padres could explore bringing back “Mitchy Two-Bags” and team him with a right-handed hitter to man the DH position in 2021.

2021 lineup

The lineup is arguably complete minus an everyday DH-type player. The Padres could explore many options in this regard, and the sky is the limit as far as who they might go after to fill this gap. The Padres still have a top-three farm system in all of baseball and could easily trade a few prospects to upgrade in the area.

CF- Trent Grisham

SS- Fernando Tatis Jr.

3B- Manny Machado

1B- Eric Hosmer

RF- Wil Myers

2B- Jake Cronenworth

LF- Tommy Pham

C- Austin Nola

DH- ?

2021 starting pitching staff

There are several questions in regards to this group. The health of Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger will be key for the Padres to reproduce an exciting season like they just enjoyed. Both right-handed pitchers appear to have survived any major injury and should regain full strength by the spring. Behind them, Zach Davies has all but assured himself a spot in the rotation for the 2021 season. Chris Paddack is a significant question mark, as he had an unproductive season in 2020. The Padres could give him every opportunity to earn a rotation spot in the spring, but nothing is a guarantee.

Factor in the next generation of pitchers like MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, Luis Patino, and Ryan Weathers. It is not clear if any or all will pitch in the rotation next season, but they are all progressing. The Padres sit with many options in the rotation presently, and this youth movement could further complicate the situation. The team could also get flirtatious with Trevor Bauer, a pending free agent this winter. That would be a huge addition for the Padres. A.J. Preller might do some fine-tuning with this group, so stay tuned. Anything can happen.

Mike Clevinger

Dinelson Lamet

Zach Davies

Chris Paddack

Adrian Morejon

Luis Patino

MacKenzie Gore

Ryan Weathers

Michel Baez

Joey Lucchesi

2021 bullpen

This was a unit of strength for the team at the end of the season. Despite a slow start and an injury to Kirby Yates, the Padres were able to produce quality relief appearances in 2020. The acquisition of Trevor Rosenthal, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla helped in that regard. The team could explore some moves here and will likely bring in several veteran pitchers to compete for jobs this spring. Preller has shown a propensity for finding undervalued talent, and the team will due their diligence to find arms this winter. You can almost surely count on the Padres adding two or three quality arms to the system that other teams disregarded.

Drew Pomeranz

Emilio Pagan

Jose Castillo

Matt Strahm

Austin Adams

Craig Stammen

Tim Hill

Pierce Johnson

Dan Altavilla

David Bednar

Luis Perdomo

Trey Wingenter

Javy Guerra

Taylor Williams

2021 bench

The team has plenty of youth in this area and could explore signing some veteran talent. The Padres could find players who complement the team — players who might play a platoon role moving forward and have playoff experience. As the Padres start to become a better team, this part of the squad will improve vastly. In time, you could see the Padres with several former all-stars on their bench. Championship teams have depth, and that is the goal for the San Diego Padres. Competition on a team also brings the best out of players, and the Padres are not afraid to stir the pot.

C/OF- Francisco Mejia

C- Luis Campusano

INF- Greg Garcia

OF- Greg Allen

OF- Jorge Ona

INF/OF- Jorge Mateo


The San Diego Padres are a good team. There is a bright future. In time, this team has the ability to become special. This winter will be an active one despite the recent success of this team. A.J. Preller is hell-bent on improving, and that is exactly what they will do. Expect the team to flirt with key free agents and potentially make huge trades to upgrade. The winter will be exciting for the fans as the expectations of 2021 keep building.

(Visited 1,722 times, 1 visits today)
James Clark on FacebookJames Clark on LinkedinJames Clark on PinterestJames Clark on Twitter
James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Klemesrud
Matt Klemesrud
1 year ago

2021 San Diego Padres Here’s the to-do list. It may shock you. 1) Trade Zach Davies The theme of this thread is “beat the Dodgers”, but not in a “his Dad’s tougher than my Dad” vibe. In a traditional 5 team playoff set up, unless we take the division or the Dodgers don’t have the best record in the league, we’ll have to play them to get to the Series. Consider that. So, not out of envy or preoccupation but reality, we have to be Dodger-proof in 95 out of 100 scenarios in the next few years if they’re healthy.… Read more »

Matt Klemesrud
Matt Klemesrud
1 year ago
Reply to  James Clark

Since you wrote the original, strong, analytical article, I assume your comment was at least in part to me. Do you like it enough to read more of my writing as an employee? I would rather join the Padre FO, but I doubt my resume would be impressive with no official work in “baseball”. :). Email if you are interested.

Tanned Tom
Tanned Tom
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Klemesrud

You don’t get better by trading your 2nd best starter.

1 year ago


Paddock, morejon and Myers for a big bat

Sign Bauer and Trienan

Resign Rosenthal and Profar

1 year ago

Nice, thorough article. It was very well laid out and helpful. It is crazy how they went from having an outstanding, and perhaps a top 5 starting rotation (at the trade deadline), to their weakest link (due to injuries, the decline of Davies, and the sharp decline of Paddack, and the lost confidence in Richards) in a matter of less than a month. Now the biggest conundrum is not ability, but availability. Perhaps the worst case is if Clev and Lamet try to nurse things, but then blow out their elbows in ST. At that point they will essentially lose… Read more »

1 year ago
Reply to  TT

Trade hoz and some pieces for Merrifield, put him at 2nd move cro to 1st. Have mitch and Abrams, as well as Greg Garcia backing them up by mid-season 2021. Potentially drop some payroll and add a versatile guy who racks up hits.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | CoverNews by AF themes.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x