Padres still searching for starting pitching as spring opens

Credit: AP Photo

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A recent report indicates that the San Diego Padres are still eyeing free-agent pitchers as the team is set to report to Peoria.

The spring baseball season is here, and several members of the Padres pitching staff are already in Arizona at the baseball facility.

A.J. Preller and his group have slowed down the acquisitions in recent weeks, but that does not mean they are not looking to upgrade. Preller is always looking for ways to improve his roster, and the weakness for the Padres seems to lie with the depth in the starting pitching department.

Recently extended Yu Darvish leads the staff with San Diegan Joe Musgrove at his side. Blake Snell is in the last year of his contract and completes this formidable trio at the top of the Padres rotation. Beyond those three pitchers, the Padres expect production from former relievers Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo. Both men come with some uncertainties, though, when it comes to eating innings at the bottom of the rotation.

San Diego also has Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, and Jay Groome, who are capable of helping out in 2023. This young trio of southpaws comes with upside, but their abilities are cloudy at best as they are all unproven at the major league level. Morejon is the best of the bunch, but coming off Tommy John surgery, his innings will be monitored.

Reiss Knehr, Brent Honeywell, Julio Teheran, and Wilmer Font could also factor in the construction of the rotation this spring for San Diego. The Padres will have plenty of arms vying for roles with the team, but none are guaranteed to be successful. There are plenty of question marks.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are still looking for starters. Cole Hamels and Michael Wacha are mentioned in the piece, as the Padres have had recent conversations with the agents of both pitchers.

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Wacha is the more palatable of the duo, having thrown very successfully last season for the Red Sox. He was arguably the best pitcher on the Boston staff in 2022. The right-handed pitcher is 30 years old and could be reliable at the tail end of the rotation. Wacha was seeking a multiple-year deal at $25-34 million but could take a one-year deal with incentives. Time is running out for him to secure a job at the major league level.

Hamels is 39 and coming off multiple injury-ridden seasons. The likelihood that he can be serviceable is low, though he does have a track record of success at the playoff level. The Rancho Bernardo High product threw for front offices a few weeks ago and was sitting in the low-90s with his velocity. Hamels is a risk, but his cost should be a fraction of what Wacha will demand.

The Padres will likely add someone this spring. The staff needs more flexibility and strength heading into a very important year for the San Diego Padres.

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