The 2022 San Diego Padres are built to win the World Series. That is the goal.
With the roster A.J. Preller constructed, there is no doubt that the Padres are designed to win now.
The Padres survived the loss of their best player, as Fernando Tatis Jr. has yet to play a single inning for the team this season. Tatis Jr. will return soon, and the Padres are poised to make the playoffs. How deep they go is entirely up to them.
The team needs reinforcements. That is quite clear.
Starting pitching is presently the Padres’ strength, and unlike seasons past, the team possesses depth. Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, MacKenzie Gore, and Mike Clevinger are doing the majority of the heavy lifting right now. But the team also has Nick Martinez, Adrian Morejon, and Ryan Weathers capable of stepping up in a pinch. There are also several more young pitchers who could fill in for the Padres.
The production from the offense has been spotty. That is the real issue, though the bullpen could use some help as well.
Jurickson Profar and Eric Hosmer were on fire to start the season, but both men have come down to earth, and their offensive numbers are suffering. Austin Nola and Trent Grisham have slumped all season long, and Jake Cronenworth also has struggled with consistency at the plate in 2022. Manny Machado has been the sole player to put up quality numbers this season. An ankle sprain limited him for more than a week, and the offensive production suffered badly.
The Padres have tried Nomar Mazara, Jose Azocar, and Trayce Thompson in the outfield in an attempt to gain offensive punch. Wil Myers has only put up 124 at-bats this year. The Padres’ starting left-fielder is currently in the IL with a knee injury, and there are some who believe he may be limited all season long.
Offensive production is needed, and the Padres must upgrade if they seriously want to compete in a playoff series.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Padres have made a few trades during the A.J. Preller regime, and there is a possibility the two sides could wheel and deal again before the August trade deadline.
Bryan Reynolds makes a ton of sense for the Padres, as the centerfielder is in the prime of his career (27 years old) and under contract until the 2026 season. He owns a .845 career OPS in 424 games and would be a huge upgrade for the team in the middle of the lineup. The switch-hitter out of Vanderbilt University would be an expensive addition.
The Pirates are in no hurry to deal the outfielder, as he is under team control for the next 3 1/2 years. The Padres ould have to sweep the Pirates off their feet with prospects. Luckily, the Padres have plenty of relevant prospects capable of getting a job done. Luis Campusano, Ryan Weathers, C.J. Abrams, and Robert Hassell III are not safe. It may take two of these young players to get a deal finalized, and the Pirates would probably want more.
At this point, the Padres are topped off in payroll. There are indications that the team is unwilling to go over the luxury tax. This complicates things as Reynolds for a package of prospects would increase the Padres’ payroll. Reynolds is making $6.75 million in each of the next two seasons.
Can the Padres persuade the Pirates to take on similar pay? Ha-Seong Kim makes sense to some degree as the infielder is to make $6 million in 2022, $7 million in 2023, and $8 million in 2024 before a $2 million buyout in 2025. Kim would be a pricey addition for the Pirates, and it would take a special prospect package for the Pirates to pull the trigger on taking on the salary of Ha-Seong Kim.
The Padres cannot be shy in the coming weeks. Upgrades must be made. You can be certain that the Dodgers will utilize their terrific farm system to upgrade a team that is already a formidable foe. A.J. Preller is feeling the pressure, and he and his staff must protect the “correct” prospects and allow the rest to move on who are hyped and over-valued. Self-evaluation is critical in the coming weeks as this team must make positive additions to the major league roster.
Bryan Reynolds is heating up after a slow start to the 2022 season, and he soon could be patrolling the outfield for the Padres at Petco Park. San Diego just needs to pay the price tag.