Review of the San Diego Padres 2022 offseason

Padres Sean Manaea

Apr 8, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Padres' Sean Manaea (55) pitches against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mlb Dbacks Padres Game

Padres A.J. Preller
Credit: Getty Images

In the early hours of April 7, Opening Day for Major League Baseball in 2022, Padres general manager A.J. Preller made his final move of the offseason. The last-minute deal saw starting pitcher Chris Paddack and relief pitcher Emilio Pagan traded to the Minnesota Twins for former MLB All-Star reliever Taylor Rogers and powerful young outfielder Brent Rooker.

Pitching prospect Brayan Medina was later announced as the player to be named later in the trade. This deal rounded out the 2022 roster, which desperately needed another left-handed relief option and a right-handed outfield bat. While Rooker is starting the year in Triple-A, it’s fair to assume he’ll see big-league playing time by the end of the season.

While the offseason wasn’t full of the blockbuster trades and big-name signings that fans have come to expect, it was still an active offseason for a team with plenty to prove in 2022. With several new faces joining the team and a few old faces leaving, let’s break down all of A.J. Preller’s major moves from this offseason and evaluate how well he impacted the roster this offseason.

Minor league deals such as Nomar Mazara will not be included, as they may have no significant impact on the major league roster. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that these trades and signings may age well or poorly over the course of this season and the following seasons, so this will be more based on how these moves can be evaluated at the time of the deal.

The Padres trade infielder Adam Fraizer to the Mariners for relief pitcher Ray Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier

To kick off the offseason, the Padres made an early trade with the Seattle Mariners that saw infielder Adam Fraizer traded for a pair of prospects. At the time, the Padres weren’t expecting to lose Fernando Tatis Jr. for three months due to a fractured wrist. With Tatis sidelined, Jake Cronenworth, Ha-Seong Kim, and C.J. Abrams, all possibilities to crowd the middle infield, trading Fraizer in the final year of his contract made sense at the time.

In return, the Padres received hard-throwing left-handed reliever Ray Kerr, who caught the eyes of many after reaching 102 MPH and dramatically improving his slider in Seattle’s farm system in 2021. While age and command aren’t particularly on Kerr’s side, his stuff is elite for a left-handed reliever, and he has a very good chance of becoming a high-leverage bullpen weapon in the future.

In addition to Kerr, the Padres also added left-handed outfield prospect Corey Rosier. Despite not being highly regarded as a prospect, the 22-year-old Rosier posted a 1.022 OPS in his minor league debut and has flashed impressive speed.

The Padres sign relief pitcher Luis Garcia to a two-year, $7 million contract.

The first of many bullpen acquisitions this offseason, Garcia saw a career resurgence in the back of the Cardinals bullpen in 2021. After switching from primarily throwing a four-seam fastball to a sinker, Garcia was able to rein in his previous control issues while attacking hitters with his 100 mph sinker and mid-80s slider.

Garcia posted a 3.24 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 0.990 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 9.2 K/9 in 33.1 Innings in 2021, and all things considered, A.J. Preller was able to sign Garcia for a deal that was very cheap relative to the value he showed in 2021. In terms of free-agent signings, Garcia’s deal was Preller’s best of the offseason.

The Padres sign relief pitcher Robert Suarez to a one-year, $6 million contract with a $5 million Player Option for 2023

Signed not long after Luis Garcia, Suarez was brought in after dominating Japanese baseball to provide another high-velocity weapon in the back-end of the Padres bullpen. While his debut was lackluster at best, Suarez has since appeared to get back on track and shown off his pitching style, hammering the strike zone with upper 90s fastballs, high 80s changeups, and low 80s curveballs.

Despite the early setback, Suarez does have the stuff to regain a spot at the back of the Padres bullpen going forward. Suarez’s contract was not nearly as team-friendly as that of Garcia, with him getting not only a 2023 player option but also similar pay to that of proven MLB commodities such as Ryan Tepera, Kendall Graveman, Mark Melancon, and Joe Kelly, making this move a bit less impressive on Preller’s part.

The Padres acquire catcher Jorge Alfaro from the Marlins for cash considerations.

At the time, the trade for catcher Jorge Alfaro seemed unnecessary, considering that the Padres already had three catchers on the 40-man roster. However, this issue was amended with the later trade of Victor Caratini, and Jorge Alfaro was awarded one of the two catching spots on the Opening Day roster after a torrid spring.

Alfaro’s .707 career OPS doesn’t inspire much confidence, but his physical tools make him an acceptable backup catcher with the upside to carve out a more significant role for himself.

The Padres sign starting pitcher Nick Martinez to a four-year, $25.5 million contract.

Padres Nick Martinez
Credit: Getty Images

In need of starting pitching depth, the Padres once again looked overseas for pitching help, adding Nick Martinez following a dominant season in Japan. He posted an impressive 1.62 ERA in 149.2 innings. Martinez’s numbers were backed by a significant jump in his fastball velocity and improved offspeed pitches, including his now plus changeup.

While the $4 million going towards Martinez is a worthwhile investment towards much-needed rotation depth, Martinez’s four-year deal isn’t exactly the most team-friendly. With three player options at $6.5 million for the last three years of his contract, Martinez has the ability to decide his own fate depending on his performance each season, meaning he’ll opt out if successful or opt in if he isn’t, with the latter costing the Padres $6.5 million.

The Padres trade starting pitcher Justin Lange for designated hitter Luke Voit

With power-hitting being a major deficiency of the Padres offense in 2021 and the designated hitter being instituted in the National League, the Padres made a deal with the Yankees to acquire the newly displaced Luke Voit.

The slugger had a down year in 2021, posting a .764 OPS that was much lower than his career .867 OPS. As an everyday designated hitter, his new opportunity in San Diego should provide Voit with enough playing time to rediscover his old form, and not having to play the field should be able to keep him healthy. With three years of control left, it’s possible that a healthy Voit can establish himself along with the other hitters in the middle of the Padres lineup.

A former top-40 pick, Justin Lange, turned heads after an impressive physical transformation which saw his fastball reach over 100 MPH prior to the 2019 draft. Still, health concerns and struggles with command have since tempered expectations of Lange.

The Padres trade infielder River Ryan for outfielder Matt Beaty

In a completely unexpected deal, the Padres and Dodgers made their first trade since 2014, seeing the Padres add a veteran left-handed bat in Matt Beaty. Beaty had seen decent playing time in Los Angeles, posting a .758 OPS in 570 plate appearances for the team.

While he has since disappointed for the Padres, a turnaround could see Beaty provide a decent left-handed bat off the bench for the Padres that can do occasional damage against right-handed pitchers.

In return, the Dodgers received 23-year-old infielder River Ryan, who hit .308 and posted a .785 OPS in his minor league debut in 2021.

The Padres trade infielder Euribiel Angeles and starting pitcher Adrian Martinez for starting pitcher Sean Manaea

Padres
Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The most surprising move of the offseason, the Padres took advantage of a low price on a good pitcher to improve their rotation and open the door for another move. Manaea, a 30-year-old with a career 3.80 ERA through 746.0 innings, brings consistency and durability that is a welcome sight in a Padres rotation that has been spurned by injuries and inconsistency in recent years. His prospect cost was considerably low because Oakland was high on infield prospect Euribiel Angeles, a career .324 hitter in the minor leagues.

Along with Angeles, the Athletics acquired 2021 breakout pitcher Adrian Martinez, who impressed with his plus changeup and posted a 3.38 ERA in 125.0 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Overall, this was A.J. Preller’s best trade of the offseason and arguably his best overall move.

The Padres trade catcher Victor Caratini to the Brewers for outfielder Korry Howell and catcher Brett Sullivan

With an abundance of catchers set to start at the MLB level, the Padres decided to part ways with backup catcher Victor Caratini following a hot spring from newcomer Jorge Alfaro. Caratini posted some of his worst numbers to date in 2021, finishing the season with a .622 OPS in a career-high 356 plate appearances.

The Brewers, in need of a backup catcher, gave the Padres outfield prospect Korry Howell, a speedy center fielder who surprised many by posting a career-best .805 OPS between High-A and Double-A in 2021. In addition, the Padres also received catcher Brett Sullivan to provide them with more minor league catching depth.

The Padres trade starting pitcher Chris Paddack, relief pitcher, Emilio Pagan, and starting pitcher Bryan Medina for relief pitcher Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker.

Padres Taylor Rogers
Credit: Padres

With the team in need of a power-hitting outfielder and a left-handed reliever, the Padres acquired both on Opening Day in a deal with the Twins. Both Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan weren’t as good of a fit for the team’s roster as the players they were traded for. Paddack has fallen off considerably after receiving Rookie of the Year votes in 2019, with his career ERA ballooning from a 3.33 to a 4.23 in the years since his breakout.

Pagan’s career has followed a similar trajectory, posting back-to-back seasons with an ERA above 4.50 after his breakout 2019 campaign as the closer for the Tampa Bay Rays.

In addition, 19-year-old pitcher Bryan Medina was also acquired by the Twins. Medina has long intrigued scouts with his fastball/slider combo, both of which project to be plus offerings, but, so far, he has yet to provide any exciting results.

Taylor Rogers not only gives the team another left-handed relief option in addition to Tim Hill but a very legitimate closer as well. Rogers, a former All-Star, has a 3.10 career ERA in 319.2 innings.

While Rooker comes with some strikeout concerns, his power and walk rate are intriguing enough to at least give him a chance to carve out a role for himself in the Padres outfield. Rooker has a .713 career OPS in limited major league playing time but owns a .876 career OPS in the minor leagues. This deal was a classic case of a team dealing from positions of strength to improve positions of weakness.

The following is a complete list of the additions and subtractions from the deals discussed above:

Additions:

– Sean Manaea
– Taylor Rogers
– Luke Voit
– Luis Garcia
– Nick Martinez
– Robert Suarez
– Jorge Alfaro
– Matt Beaty
– Brent Rooker
– Korry Howell
– Ray Kerr
– Corey Rosier
– Brett Sullivan

Subtractions:

– Adam Fraizer
– Chris Paddack
– Emilio Pagan
– Victor Caratini
– Euribiel Angeles
– Justin Lange
– Adrian Martinez
– Bryan Medina
– River Ryan

All things considered, it was a successful offseason for A.J. Preller. The Padres GM made significant upgrades to the roster while only parting with five prospects outside of the organization’s top-10 and a few players that would’ve struggled to make the major league roster, all while keeping payroll under the luxury tax threshold.

The pitching staff, in particular, was upgraded significantly this offseason, with Paddack, Melancon, and Pagan being replaced with Manaea, Rogers, and Garcia, along with high-velocity weapons in Robert Suarez and Ray Kerr and veteran Nick Martinez joining the staff.

Even without top left-hander Drew Pomeranz, the Padres bullpen looks significantly better than in 2021, and Manaea is undoubtedly an upgrade over Paddack.




The upgrades to the offense were far less impressive, with the only significant addition being designated hitter Luke Voit, whose 2022 production is questionable after a lackluster 2021. Especially after losing Fernando Tatis Jr. to injury, the Padres needed to add multiple impact bats, which they were unfortunately unable to do, instead opting for smaller pieces like Matt Beaty, Jorge Alfaro, and Brent Rooker.

While hot starts from Manny Machado and Jurickson Profar have held the offense’s head above water early on, this success appears to be less sustainable on paper than that of the pitching staff. Of course, the return of Fernando Tatis Jr., turnarounds from the likes of Jake Cronenworth and Luke Voit, and possible acquisitions at the trade deadline could easily provide the team with the offensive boost it needs.

It’s important to underline that an offseason deal for an impact bat in the outfield would’ve been nice for a team that is a bit shaky on the offensive side.

Only time will truly tell how this offseason went for A.J Preller and the Padres, but early on, it seems like it was fairly positive for them.

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Ryan Michel
Born and raised in San Diego, aspiring Baseball Journalist and lifelong fan of the San Diego Padres. My life's goal is to retire early, become a season ticket holder and practically live at Petco Park in the summer.

3 thoughts on “Review of the San Diego Padres 2022 offseason

  1. Pitching and defense are good. Clevinger coming back will be a real boost, even though he will be more likely on a pitch count. The emergence of Gore is huge, we need to see him against tougher competition. Right now a good probability of getting a wild card. Tatis coming back and staying healthy will get them Close to being WS Contenders. Get Brian Reynolds out of Pittsburgh, and you will see the Pads not taking a back seat to L.A. or S.F

  2. This off season was not a success, even though some nice moves were made. The biggest needs for SD were finding a LF and trading Hosmer. They did neither, this will come back to haunt them when Hosmer and Profar come back to Earth. Hosmer in particular will tumble, he cannot possibly sutain a .487 BABIP, hasn’t hit a HR, and barely walked.
    This move simply had to be made and it wasn’t.

  3. Well…the pads are 9-6, based on pitching and defense only….but, the lack of a respectable bat addition, is certainly rearing it’s ugly head…Machado and Hosmer have been forced to carry the load, and with no help from, well…anybody else…the offense is extremely thin…and teams know it.
    AJ can’t afford to sit and wait…forget the luxury tax issue, and add offense sooner, than later.
    If not, the pads will assure themselves a solid third place finish….with or without a timely Tatis return.

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