Padres in search of young, controllable pitching via trade

Padres A.J. Preller

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Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Preller and his staff are looking for young, controllable pitchers to add to the San Diego Padres staff for 2023 and beyond. 

The offensive lineup for the San Diego Padres has been upgraded for the 2023 season.

The addition of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts alone will provide the Padres with arguably the best top-4 hitters in all of baseball. A.J. Preller and his staff are not done either, as the Padres could add an outfielder, a DH, and possibly another first baseman to the roster.

The overhaul of the offensive unit is only in its infancy. The Padres will add several veteran players in the coming months to finish out the roster. You can count on that.

The Padres should produce more runs in 2023 and beyond as the team’s nucleus is signed for the long haul. Juan Soto may leave after the 2024 season, and Manny Machado has an opt-out after 2023, but both players are expressing interest in remaining in San Diego. You have to figure that Peter Seidler will do everything it takes to maensurehese players remain in San Diego for years to come.

A.J. Preller extended Joe Musgrove last season as the Padres locked him up to a five-year, $100 million deal that seems like a bargain now. Musgrove was due for free agency this winter and would have easily gotten more money on the open market. The Padres face the same issue next winter as Yu Darvish and Blake Snell are free agents.

With the cost of extending Soto and Machado looming, can the Padres pay both Snell and Darvish this winter?

Re-signing both pitchers may happen, but that remains to be seen. The Padres will eventually need to ease off the gas pedal regarding their payroll. Peter Seidler and the Padres simply cannot continue to throw money at problems. He could, as he is that wealthy, but there must be order to the roster. There must be a method to the madness.

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The farm system is building up again after the series of trades to upgrade the major league roster in the last few seasons. There is no immediate pitching help for the Padres except for a trio of lefties that should factor this season. Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, and Jay Groome are all major-league-ready, and each could play a big part in the future of the Padres. Besides that trio, pitching prospects will not help San Diego in 2023.

Morejon is penciled in the rotation at this point behind Nick Martinez as the Padres’ fifth starter. Martinez was brought back this winter and could pitch out of the rotation (in the 4th spot) or be a valuable member of the bullpen. His future will be determined later as the Padres are reportedly still in search of starting pitching. Morejon may be able to begin the season in the rotation but may not be ready for a whole season so soon after Tommy John surgery. Durability has always been an issue with the southpaw in his young career.

Weathers and Groome are seemingly ready to eat innings in 2023. Especially Weathers, who has major league experience and actually pitched well for the Padres in 2021 before a lower leg injury crippled his numbers late in the season. Weathers sat in the minors all of last season and is very hungry to compete. Groome has yet to debut in the majors but will be given an opportunity to pitch, as he is essentially the only thing the Padres have to show for dumping Eric Hosmer on the Red Sox. San Diego is still on the hook for three years and $39 million to the first baseman through the 2025 season.

No matter how you look at it, the Padres are thin in the rotation area. They will need to make additions.

The Padres were reportedly in on Chris Bassitt before he signed a three-year, $63 million deal with Toronto earlier this month. It appears they have the willingness to upgrade the rotation. In the end, $21 million per season was too much for the Padres to match. Especially with the free agency of Darvish and Snell looming.

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The best answer for the Padres is to trade for young, controllable pitching.

San Diego needs to acquire a pitcher who is pre-arbitration or in their first year of arbitration. A pitcher who is under control for three years or more. This is not an easy task, but there are some teams who have an excess of starting pitching. The Miami Marlins come to mind as Trevor Rogers, Jesus Luzardo, Pablo Lopez, and Edward Cabrera may be attainable for the right price. The team’s ace Sandy Alcantara isn’t going anywhere, but this foursome could be broken up as Miami has multiple young prospects ready for major league action. Including their No. 1 overall prospect- Eury Perez.

A.J. Preller and his staff are working on every angle in upgrading the roster. Spring training is still two months away, so there is time. Controllable pitching is on the list of things to do, but so is upgrading the rest of the lineup. The next few weeks should be a busy time for the San Diego Padres as they continue to construct a playoff-worthy team capable of hoisting a World Series trophy.

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