Examining remaining free-agent options for Padres in outfield

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If the season started tomorrow, the San Diego Padres would be in trouble in the outfield. The team will need to add this winter. Here is a look at the remaining outfielders available on the free-agent market. 

The Padres need outfield help.

Currently, only Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jose Azocar are on the 40-man roster and are listed as an outfielder. Tucupita Marcano, Jake Cronenworth, and even Ha-Seong Kim could see time in the outfield in 2024. That really remains to be seen. Each is surely capable of playing left field if needed.

Even if this trio can man some innings in the outfield, it is still very likely that the Padres obtain an outfielder or two fairly soon.

A.J. Preller and his staff are surely capable of trading with another franchise, but you get a sense the organization wants to keep its top prospects in-house. The Padres are also reaching their spending limits for the coming season, so they could not necessarily trade for a high-priced outfielder.

The team’s remaining option is to explore the free agent market. That way, they can pay exactly what they want for an upgrade.

Most of the relevant players have already signed, but there is one big-ticket free agent left and plenty of players with unknown future value.

Let’s explore the options left and see if there is a diamond in the rough for the Padres in 2024.

 

Cody Bellinger

Bellinger is the best free-agent option available and is certainly out of the Padres’ price range. Scott Boras represents the 28-year-old, two-time All-Star and reportedly wants a $200 million deal. Bellinger hit well last season in Chicago with the Cubs but is only a few years removed from back-to-back horrendous seasons with the Dodgers, in which they released him instead of paying his arbitration salary. There is a risk, and the Padres certainly do not have that kind of money to spend.

 

Joc Pederson

This left-handed hitting slugger fits a need for the Padres, but he is getting towards the end of his playing days in the majors. Pederson put up a .764 OPS last season with the Giants but is 31 and arguably a platoon player. You do not want to see him against left-handed pitching late in games. The Padres may have some interest, but his cost would probably have to be a bargain for the Padres to sign him in 2024.

 

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Tommy Pham

Old friend Tommy Pham is probably not an option, as the team allowed him to walk away after the 2021 season. Pham landed in Cincinnati and played for the Red Sox, Mets, and Diamondbacks since leaving San Diego. The right-handed hitter played well for Arizona last season, guiding them to the World Series. He was a presence in the clubhouse and was recognized by his teammates as a great leader. That is something the Padres need. But it didn’t work the first time- why would it now? Pham made $7.5 million last season.

 

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Michael A. Taylor

The Padres need a center fielder, and Michael A. Taylor fills a big need. The right-handed hitter is considered a defense-first center fielder but has some power to his bat as Taylor slogged a career-high 21 homers last season with the Twins. The Padres really cannot be too picky, and having Taylor in the outfield would help save a lot of runs for the pitching staff. It will come down to Taylor’s cost and whether or not the Padres are interested. He made $4.5 million last season.

 

Joey Gallo

In this piece, we explore the idea of Joey Gallo. The outfielder/first baseman brings a ton of power with him, but he just cannot make contact regularly. Gallo may go down as one of the most prolific strikeout batters in the history of the game. He plays outfield well and has one of the best arms in the game, but there are holes in his offensive game, and at the age of 30, his best years are clearly behind him. A.J. Preller is a Texas Rangers guy, and so is Joey Gallo. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean a reunion in San Diego.

 

Travis Jankowski

A former Padres outfielder played a vital role for the Rangers last season in the World Series-winning year. When Adolis Garcia went down with an injury, Jankowski stepped up and played well for the Rangers. He is arguably more a fourth outfielder at this stage in his career, but there may be some value for the Padres. Jankowski would not break the bank, can play all three outfield positions, and can provide a base stealer for San Diego. We will see if the two sides explore a reunion.

 

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Jurickson Profar

Is Profar the answer?  The Padres played better last season after he was signed by the team late in the year. The switch-hitter is great friends with multiple Padres players and seems to have a grasp on the clubhouse and getting the most out of it. Profar is suspect in the outfield; despite the outfield assists, he may rack up. The bat is also not as solid as his reputation, but the Padres really cannot be picky at this point. The price should be right for San Diego, as Profar had a down year and played for $8.7 million last season.

 

Eddie Rosario

Can Rosario provide leadership? The Padres certainly lacked something last year in a season that was supposed to be very special. Rosario won a World Series with the Braves a few years ago and is a left-handed bat with power. The Padres certainly need help, but they cannot afford to pay close to the $9 million Rosario made last season with the Braves. Only time will tell if these two sides make sense for the coming season.

 

Adam Duvall

Duvall is a right-handed power threat who could make sense for the Padres in the right situation. The team is mainly looking for left-handed hitting options, but Duvall has been a decent major leaguer throughout his career. The 35-year-old recorded a .834 OPS for the Red Sox in 92 games last season. Duvall made $7 million last season and would probably need to take a pay cut to land in San Diego. The Padres could do a whole lot worse than Duvall in a corner spot for the 2024 season.

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