The Padres should bring back Garrett Cooper

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The San Diego Padres should consider bringing back Garrett Cooper for the 2024 season. 

Not very often does a player come to the Padres and have success with the bat.

For whatever reason, players seem to arrive in San Diego and regress with their offensive abilities. That is the sad truth.

Garrett Cooper was acquired from the Marlins at the MLB Trade Deadline in 2023 for Ryan Weathers, and he played well for the Padres down the stretch. Cooper did not knock the cover off the ball, but he did produce at first base for the Friars when they needed it.

His 102 OPS+ in 2023 for San Diego is nothing to write home about, but the Padres barely got any production from their group of first basemen before his arrival. The right-handed hitter did hit left-handed pitching very well (.904 OPS) last season and could be a player to platoon at first with an effective left-handed hitter. If the Padres elect to keep Jake Cronenworth at first base, Cooper would make a solid platoon partner.

The native of Torrance, California, enjoyed his return to his home state after seven years with the Marlins.

A return to the area would obviously be welcomed by Cooper. His main priority would be to sign with a team that gives him opportunities, though. The Padres would surely be able to do that in 2024 if they do not upgrade at the first base position. Cooper could factor for San Diego if they choose to go that route.

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The Padres would not need to break the bank to retain his services either.

Cooper made $3.9 million last year in his final year of arbitration and would probably take a multiple-year deal at or around that price. The 32-year-old owns a career .772 OPS in 481 games and over 1,600 at-bats in the majors. The 2022 MLB All-Star can play outfield, though he has not since the 2021 season when he played 315 innings in right field. The majority of his playing time moving forward will likely come at first base, though he could man the outfield if needed.

The winter will be interesting in San Diego as there are several unanswered questions for the Padres.

With some budget concerns, the Padres will look for unheralded players to fill out the roster. Garrett Cooper is not a sexy name, but he is a baseball player. And with a roster full of superstars, that is precisely what the Padres need moving forward. If the price is right, pull the trigger.

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