The San Diego Padres strengthened their bench today by signing Adam Engel for the 2023 season.
The native of Ohio played the last six seasons in Chicago for the White Sox, recording a .631 OPS in 1,400 at-bats. Engel was mainly used as a defensive replacement and as a pinch hitter throughout his major league career.
Engel’s ability to play excellent centerfield is what makes him very attractive to the Padres. The right-handed hitter is an excellent complement to Trent Grisham and will give the Padres two defenders in center who are considered well above average.
Fernando Tatis Jr. may factor in center when it is all said and done, but the addition of Engel gives the Padres depth at the position.
Engel’s sprint speed (92nd percentile), outfield jump (90th percentile), and outs above average (82nd percentile) are well above average, according to Baseball Savant. Engel will have no trouble roaming the spacious confines of Petco Park this coming season.
The addition gives the Padres an option off the bench and also someone capable of playing all three outfield positions.
Engel can also steal a base, as he recorded 12 last season in 260 plate appearances.
The details of his contract for the coming season are not known yet. The 31-year-old made $2,000,000 million last season for Chicago.
The #Padres have signed Adam Engel to a one-year contract through the 2023 season.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 7, 2023
The Padres will not get much offensive production from Engel, who hit .224 and put up a .579 OPS last season for the Sox.
However, Engel did record an OPS of above .800 in 2020 (.811) and 2021 (.832) in over 200 at-bats. There is some power to his game, but make no mistake, his forte is his defensive ability. With an outfield of Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr., adding Engel makes sense.
The Padres are likely not done strengthening their bench for the coming season. A.J. Preller and his staff are finalizing the roster in an effort to hoist a world championship this coming fall. Stay tuned; you will hear more from the Padres this winter.