Scary reality for Padres is they will not know Musgrove & Darvish’s status until the spring

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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The Padres will need productive seasons from Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish in 2024. Both are coming off arm injuries, and we will not know their true health until the team reports to Peoria this February. 

This winter, the San Diego Padres will be dumpster diving for pitching.

Some financial restraints will limit the team from spending on big free agents this winter. These same issues will likely leave the Padres as non-players in the services of Blake Snell and Josh Hader, as both are free agents this offseason. The team will sadly say goodbye to their best starting pitcher and best reliever from the 2023 season.

The Padres have over a billion dollars committed to roughly 25 percent of their roster. That means the other 75 percent will need to be made up of inexpensive young players or veterans playing for big contracts coming off bad seasons. This task is not impossible, but the Padres’ scouting department must be on their game. It is difficult to determine which veterans still have life left in their game and which are Matt Carpenter.

Currently, the Padres have two proven pitchers in their starting staff. Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish.

Both pitchers secured a mega contract from the Padres over the last few seasons. Each also missed the end of the 2023 season with arm issues. This is very concerning if you are a Padres fan. Musgrove reportedly made so much progress with his shoulder that he could have pitched in the playoffs if the Padres made it. Darvish, on the other hand, reported bone spurs in his elbow and discomfort. Elbow issues are tricky, and given his age, this is troubling.

The reality is the Padres will not know each pitcher’s status until they report for spring training in February. Both can throw in the offseason but would probably be advised not to do so, given their arm issues. Rest will be needed to heal. It will take their first few bullpen sessions in Peoria before we genuinely know the availability of each pitcher moving forward.

You have to always plan for the worst. But the Padres have no plan at the moment with the staff.

A.J. Preller and his group must be nervous right now.

Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez, and Snell are free to negotiate with anyone this winter. They were all productive and should have no issues finding work. The Padres will be hard-pressed to pay them top dollar. Something will have to give.

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With two hurt pitchers and the entire staff free agents, the Padres have work to do.

They could rely on some young arms, but none are quite appealing.

Jay Groome, Pedro Avila, Matt Waldron, Adrian Morejon, and Reiss Knehr come with risks. The Padres may get something from each young pitcher, but to expect them to eat up 150-plus innings is outrageous. The Padres have top pitching prospects on the way, but the 2025 season is more of a reality for Dylan Lesko, Robby Snelling, and company to make an impact at the major league level.

The Padres will explore trading prospects for proven young arms and sign unheralded pitchers to compete in Arizona this spring for roster spots.

That seems to be the plan. With the death of Peter Seidler, the future finances are unknown. One shouldn’t expect the Padres to make a huge splash on the free-agent market. The health of Musgrove and Darvish will be huge for the Padres in 2024, but the next several pitchers in line for rotation spots will make or break the team next season. The Padres need to get excellent value from a group of unheralded pitchers.

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