It is no secret that the San Diego Padres need starting pitching for the 2023 season and beyond.
With only Joe Musgrove and Nick Martinez as reliable options (though Martinez has yet to prove his reliability for a full season) who are under contract past this year, the Padres will need to do something to secure starting pitching.
Morejon flashed dominance last season, but the Padres will need to monitor his innings as he is a year and a half recovering from Tommy John surgery. Weathers spent virtually the whole season in Triple-A and took some lumps pitching in the PCL. His numbers were not good, but hardly any pitchers enjoy any success pitching in that league.
That is the elephant in the room.
The duo will easily earn a multiple-year deal on the open market, barring health. Darvish is at the tail end of a Hall-of-Fame-like career and will hold tremendous value on the open market to competitive teams. Snell has a Cy Young under his belt and brings a little more uncertainty to his game. Both will hold great value in a weak market next winter.
The Padres will be interested in retaining their pitchers, but who do you keep?
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When you are in the playoffs, you need an ace. A pitcher capable of limiting the other team’s offense and going deep into a game. Darvish is not as young as he used to be, but the right-handed pitcher is fairly consistent. Of the Padres’ big three pitchers, you feel more confident in the 36-year-old Darvish come October and November.
Yu Darvish pitched 194 innings last season, which was his second-highest total and the most he has thrown since the 2013 season, his second year in the league. The five-time All-Star owns a career 3.50 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP in 1,488 innings at the major league level. He is an elite pitcher and has proven his value for a long time. His mixture of pitches can be overwhelming to young hitters. Darvish throws somewhere around 12 different pitches up to the plate.
The Japanese right-handed pitcher will make $18 million this season in the last year of his six-year, $126 million deal signed in February of 2018 with the Cubs. Expect Darvish to easily surpass $20 million per season on his next contract. A three-year deal seems to be expected, as that will take him just short of his 40th birthday.
Perhaps a three-year deal with a team option for the fourth year is in order. In four out of the past five complete seasons, Darvish has made at least 30 starts for his team. He will eat innings during the season, and that has tremendous value.
Snell is an enigma. You get a sense we have yet to see the best from him, but there are hundreds or thousands of pitchers who never live up to their expectations in the game. He can be frustrating to watch as the left-hander flashes pure dominance from time to time. Snell can be flat-out unhittable, with an overpowering fastball and devastating slider. He also throws a curve and a changeup, but the first two selections are his bread and butter.
Last season, Snell’s velocity enjoyed a bit of an uptick as the pitcher hit 97-98 mph on a regular basis. Ruben Niebla will factor big for Blake Snell in 2023. The Padres pitching coach took Snell under his wing and helped him last season get through some rough spots. You expect the growth to continue in Snell’s final year under contract. If the Padres can get some consistency from Blake Snell, he could very well factor in the N.L. Cy Young-Award race.
Of the two pitchers, Snell will likely cost the most money. He may not be as reliable as Darvish, but his age and upside would demand a three or four-year contract at the very least. He could get more, depending on how well he throws in 2022.
The Padres would like to retain the southpaw, but his cost will have a lot to do with whether or not he is brought back. The Padres extended Joe Musgrove last year for $100 million, and it is not known if they would make the same commitment to Snell.
Why not both?
The Padres need pitching. There is no sugar-coating that fact. Adding both pitchers for the next few seasons would secure that the Padres rotation will be one of the better ones in the league now and in the future. If you want to compete deep into the playoffs, you need pitching. Both men are capable of dominating in a playoff series, and you want as many of those pitchers in your rotation as you can get.
Snell and Darvish seem content in San Diego. They genuinely seem happy in the area. There is no such thing as a hometown discount with either man, but you can be sure that if the Padres make a fruitful effort, they will return to San Diego. The Padres have spent on the offense, it may be time for Peter Seidler and his ownership group to pay for these men to return. It is also interesting to note that Josh Hader is also a pending free agent next winter. The Padres closer will also need an extension to remain in San Diego.
Most pundits expect the Padres to bring back one of these pitchers. Yu Darvish seems the most likely. Discussions of a potential deal with Darvish may heat up in the spring. If both sides begin to talk, expect an arrangement to take place fairly quickly. Darvish is all in on the San Diego Padres and surely wants to stay here as the team enjoys success after years of obscurity. Snell may have to prove his consistency for the club to give him a realistic offer. But anything can happen when A.J. Preller and Peter Seidler are at the helm.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.