The San Diego Padres took two of three games from the New York Mets this past weekend, and optimism grew about the 2022 season.
Most pundits expect the Padres to make the playoffs this year, but the road will be tough. The Dodgers are presently running away with the NL West Division (currently 11.5 games up on the Padres). San Diego will likely look to finish as one of the two NL Wild Card teams in order to participate in the payoffs.
The Padres’ starting staff possesses depth like no other time in the history of the franchise. Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, MacKenzie Gore, Ryan Weathers, and Nick Martinez have all started games this season for the Friars. Adrian Morejon has returned from Tommy John surgery, throwing 99 mph fastballs, and is another option for the Padres in 2022 (if needed).
Starting pitching is not an issue for San Diego. The problem is and continues to be producing and scoring runs.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is a few weeks from returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him for the entire 2022 season. His addition will boost the offense, but the Padres have more than one problem in the lineup. Failing to score has been a total team effort.
Hosmer’s issues with the bat continue, even after a scorching start to the 2022 season. The top-hand hitter that Hosmer is will always result in rolling over the ball. He is a ground ball machine and a stubborn one at that, as Hosmer flat-out refuses to adjust and hit the ball in the air.
Nola has not been plagued by major issues this season, though as a catcher, he likely is banged up of some sort. The usually consistent hitter has failed this season with the bat. His current OPS of .631 is a career low in the majors. Nola is showing signs of getting out of his slump as he is hitting .308 in the month of July in 39 at-bats. But the Padres need more. Thankfully, Jorge Alfaro has been a godsend for San Diego.
Former Gold-Glove outfielder Trent Grisham regressed so much with the bat that he is losing playing time to Esteury Ruiz, who started the season in Double-A. Grisham is hitting .190 this season with a .627 OPS. The left-handed hitter lost his leadoff role and is in jeopardy of losing a spot on the 40-man roster.
Luke Voit has been very pedestrian as the team’s primary DH, and that has not helped the offensive woes for the Padres. His .723 OPS is a career low, and the right-handed masher has only managed 12 homers while striking out 102 times in 274 at-bats. The Padres need more production from their DH moving forward.
A.J. Preller and his staff have their work cut out for them. The team will need to add players without messing too much with the chemistry of the Padres. Subtracting certain veterans could be beneficial or detrimental to the team. Usually, the only way to know for certain is for a change to be made. The Padres will need to gamble in some aspect in this regard. How far they go to adjust the roster is up to their young GM.
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The Padres could play it safe and make minor tweaks to the offense. Luis Campusano is hitting in Triple-A and could be the answer at catcher. Nomar Mazara has performed all year since promotion from Triple-A, and Bob Melvin is more than justified to keep him in the lineup moving forward. Esteury Ruiz and C.J. Abrams could platoon in center field, though a rookie tandem seems far-fetched.
The point is the Padres could theoretically stand pat. But will they come trade season? Probably not.
The additions made in the coming weeks will be huge for this franchise as several relevant young players could be traded. What will the Padres do? Do they mortgage the future for a chance to hoist a World Series trophy? Only time will tell.
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 EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.