Free-agent options for Padres at first base decreasing

Credit: AP Photo

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Jake Cronenworth penciled in as the starting first baseman for the 2023 season, the San Diego Padres will need to upgrade.

Luckily for the Padres, there are some options on the open market.

Headed into the winter, the Padres labeled Jose Abreu as the number-one priority at the position. The right-handed hitting veteran signed with the Houston Astros this past week and was never really linked to the Padres when it was all said and done. His price tag of $60 million may have been what kept the Padres away.

Josh Bell signed with the Guardians this week and he is no longer an option for the Padres.

A.J. Preller and his staff will change gears now.

They are prepared to spend, as the Padres were deep in negotiations with Trea Turner before he signed in Philadelphia.

Here is a look at some options for the team at first base as we head into the depths of winter.

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Current Free Agents

Brandon Drury

Acquired in August at the deadline, Drury gives the Padres lots of flexibility on the diamond if he were to be brought back. He can play first, third, and second and generally smashes left-handed pitches. The Padres may be able to bring him back on a two or three-year deal at a decent rate. Drury is capable at first base but is not considered a plus defender.

Credit: AP Photo

Wil Myers

A reunion with Myers could be in the works if his asking price drops low enough. The Padres are certainly impressed with his defensive efforts, and there is a ton of familiarity between the two sides. The Padres will not give Myers a multiple-year deal, but a one-year contract would be suitable. The Padres could continue to use Myers in the outfield as well, and that is a bonus.

Joey Gallo

Preller and former Rangers players go together like peanut butter and jelly. Gallo’s value is really low, as he struggled the last two seasons. The price will be low, but can the Padres afford to give away at-bats to a player who may never be what he once was in the game? Probably not. But if Gallo is willing to play at a bargain-basement rate, the Padres may show some interest. There would be little risk to take a flier on Gallo and see if he can catch lightning in a bottle. But only at an inexpensive rate.

Brandon Belt

Old and brittle, Belt is an option for the Padres in small doses. The chances that he gets hurt are very high, but when the veteran plays, Belt is a tough at-bat from the left side of the plate. This is not an excellent option for the Padres, as Belt’s best years appear to be behind him.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Voit

The Padres could reunite with Voit, who was included in the Juan Soto trade after Eric Hosmer vetoed the trade to the Nationals. The Padres liked Voit, but what will be the cost for the power hitter? There are certainly concerns about his defensive efforts, as Voit looks like a DH-only type of player. The Padres will have interest, but only if the price is right.

Dominic Smith

A.J. Preller has shown interest in Smith when he was with the Mets. There could be some talk of bringing the left-handed hitter to the Padres. The price is right, as Smith will battle to earn a major league contract from someone. The Padres could take a look at Smith in hopes he finds his stride. There is risk, but the price will be cost-friendly for the Padres.

Nelson Cruz

The Padres showed interest in Cruz in the past, but at this point in his career, he would be a liability on the field in any position. Putting him at first base is a stretch, but the Padres also need a DH for the next season. The veteran effect from Cruz could be valuable. Especially when you factor in that the Padres have playoff ambitions in 2023.

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