San Diego Padres: Three moves for the offseason

PEORIA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Owner Ron Fowler, Executive V.P./General Manager A.J. Preller, Manny Machado #8 of the San Diego Padres pose for a photo at Peoria Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PEORIA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Owner Ron Fowler, Executive V.P./General Manager A.J. Preller, Manny Machado #8 of the San Diego Padres pose for a photo at Peoria Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres were a surprise team in 2020. Let’s look at some free agent signings that could help them take the next step.

You want free agent signings? Plenty of agreements should be announced after Thanksgiving. You want a perennial all-star moving in a blockbuster trade? Pace yourself as most trades occur in the month of December.

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The San Diego Padres were the surprise team of the National League in 2020. We watched Fernando Tatis Jr. evolved into the sport’s next great superstar. His unique athleticism turned impossible defensive plays into routine outs.

But after a disappointing exit from the playoffs, the Friars have some work ahead of them in improving their roster. Free agency could bring key pieces that help them contend in 2021.

Here are three free agent moves for the Padres to pursue this offseason:

More Padres. Concerns with Lamet. light

San Diego Padres Must Re-Sign Trevor Rosenthl

Unlike the majority of trade deadline acquisitions by the Padres, everyone knew Trevor Rosenthal was a rental because of his pending free agency at season’s end. If the Friars are truly committed in becoming a playoff contender, then re-signing Rosenthal should be their top priority this offseason. However, the odds are high that the righthanded closer will be in high demand.

Rosenthal will garner plenty of attention because of his record as a proven closer who can shut down the opposition with an overpowering fastball. The formula for winning was pretty simple: the Padres gain an early lead, then build on it before turning the game over to Rosenthal in the ninth for the W. Who could argue with success as the 30-year old closer was lights out (17 Ks in 10.0 IP) in nine appearances for the Friars.

No question, Rosenthal was the perfect fit in the Padres’ locker room as well. Immediately after arriving in San Diego, he embraced the city and the Friar Faithful with open arms. His interaction with the fans on Twitter was a fun follow this past summer. One good sign for Padres fans, Rosenthal and his daughter were decked out in Padres’ hoodies for Halloween.

Signing Trevor Bauer

The Friars have an explosive lineup, but the team will never catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the standings if they don’t receive quality starting pitching.

Wait, don’t the San Diego Padres already have established starters on the roster? That is a tricky question to answer as they may have three (Mike Clevinger, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Paddack) projected for next season’s rotation. But each pitcher have their own issues to overcome in 2021.

Paddack’s struggles from last season have been well-documented. Things became so bad for the young pitcher that Padres manager Jayce Tingler chose a bullpen day over starting him in an elimination game against the Dodgers in their divisional round playoff series.

Clevinger and Lamet must answer questions on the health of their throwing arms. Red flags have been raised on both as neither starter could withstand the rigors of a 60-game schedule. So, the expectation of them remaining healthy for an entire 162-game season is very much in doubt. Thus, the signing of Trevor Bauer is essential to having a fully-functioning starting rotation.

The reigning Cy Young Award winner brings stability to the staff. You can pencil Bauer in to start every five days because of his superb throwing mechanics. It provides him with excellent command of his pitches. Like a fine oil machine, Bauer can spot the ball anywhere on the plate. The stats (1.73 era, 0.79 WHIP, 100 Ks in 73 IP, and opponents batted .159) confirm his dominance last season.

The biggest area of concern with signing Bauer as a free agent is determining if his unique personality fits in with the team’s chemistry inside the locker room. Bauer can be quite emotional at times. Whether it is arguing with his catcher on pitch sequences or throwing a baseball over the centerfield wall after a dismal outing, his outward emotions can rub teammates, the manager, and coaching staff the wrong way.

It might be best to bring Bauer in on a short-term deal, which gives both sides the option to move-on if the fit isn’t just right.

Signing Kike Hernandez

One of the growing trends in major league baseball is having a bench filed with versatile players who can play multiple positions. Last season, the San Diego Padres had Jurickson Profar to fill this role. His contributions were significant in helping the team secure a playoff berth. But Profar is a free agent and the time is right for the Friars to make a big splash and sign the best utility player in the majors, Kike Hernandez.

First, a move of this nature would weakened the Padres main NL West rival, the Dodgers by taking away one of their valued security blankets. In 2020, the Friars proved they can compete on the field, but to beat the best, you have to add valuable pieces to your roster when the situation dictates such a move.

Next. Padres must be aggressive this offseason. dark

Hernandez will bring energy to the Padres lineup because he can play almost every position on the field. His career batting average (.240 hitter) isn’t impressive, but Hernandez is regarded as a proven run-producer in late-inning scoring rallies.  Plus, he has a reliable glove that solidifies the defense in tight games. The addition of Hernandez seems to be the right move for the Friars.