The 2023 Major League Baseball season is well underway.
No, there won’t be any games or even spring training for quite some time, but teams are able to sign free agents and make trades. For some fans (myself included), this is one of the best times of year. Speculation and rumors run rampant, and this year is no different.
One name that has been attached to the San Diego Padres is Seth Brown of the Oakland Athletics. The 30-year-old has played in parts of the last four seasons for the A’s and has been featured regularly for the past two years. He’s under team control until 2027 and has two minor league options remaining.
Last season, Brown showed his versatility by playing first base as well as all three outfield positions. His best position is left field. He was good for one OAA (outs above average), the only defensive position he was positive in. His arm strength is below average, falling in the 37th percentile, according to Statcast. His UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is also -1.6, which basically says the area he can cover defensively is slightly below average. The bulk of Brown’s value is not coming defensively but rather offensively.
The left-hander slugged .444 while getting on base .299 percent of the time. He hit 25 home runs, 26 doubles, and even stole 11 bases. Brown had a wRC+ of 116, which would have been third-best on the Padres last season.
Brown feasted on fastballs. According to Statcast, he had a run value ten above average on four-seam fastballs and seven above on cutters. He struggled against sliders posting six runs below average. Statcast also has him in the 88th percentile for max exit velocity and 90th percentile in barrel percentage. His walk rate checks in at the 63rd percentile.
Brown is still pre-arbitration eligible, meaning in 2023, his salary will be less than a million dollars. A free agent with similar stats to Brown would be expected to make around $14 million a year, according to Fangraphs. He has four years of team control. A player like this would not come free, but also wouldn’t be overly expensive prospect-wise.
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A trade centered around recent draft pick Adam Mazur would be a great start. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at 99mph earning himself a $1.25 million signing bonus. The Padres would still have to add a decent prospect or two. Daniel Montesino, a left-handed slugger who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, could interest the A’s. Brandon Valenzuela is another, he’s a promising catcher out of Mexico. The loss of Mazur would certainly sting, but the Padres would still have Dylan Lesko and Robbie Snelling, their top two choices from last season’s draft.
The Padres are in desperate need of a left-handed slugger and don’t have unlimited funds to be able to sign one in free agency. Seth Brown is a player that fills that void without having an absurd price tag.
Lifelong Padre fan born and raised in San Diego, currently living in Temecula. The editors make me sound smart.