Padres Editorial: What Free Agent First Baseman Should Padres Target?

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Aug 23, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Mike Napoli (25) in the dugout before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Napoli. Napoli is the player that is the more feasible big-name signing. Over the past three seasons, Napoli has saved his teams an estimated 23 and 20 defensive runs, according to and Baseball Info Solutions respectively. Those numbers are fantastic.

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At the plate, Napoli struggled with Boston and hit wonderfully after being traded to the Rangers. He finished the season with a .224/.324/.410/.734 slashline in 133 games. Over the past three years, Napoli has hit .245/.352/.440/.792 averaging 130 games.

Napoli hitting in two right-handed hitter-friendly parks could be a concern, though he hit well with the Angels.

The knocks on Napoli other than a dismal first half in 2015 with Boston are his age – 34 – and that he’s right-handed. Due to his age, the Padres might be able to sign him to a shorter deal, maybe only two or three years, which would be less of a risk long-term than the next man.

Chris DavisFriarsOnBase‘s Jacob Kornhauser already wrote a piece supporting that the Padres get Davis. The move would make sense. The Padres would get a left-handed hitter in a right-handed heavy lineup and with power that has led the American League twice over the past three seasons. Over those three years, Davis hit .252/.347/.544/.891 with a 140 OPS+ averaging 149 games. Despite the rather poor showing in 2014, a .347 on-base would have been second on the Padres last year. His .361 on-base in 2015 would have tied for the team lead. So Davis is more than just a home run threat.

However, one could very well raise concern over the 2014 season in which he hit for a league-average .704 OPS and was suspended for using Adderall. The same goes for his strike outs – 208 in 2015.

Defensively, Davis is below average. Not a calamity, but just below the norm. But who cares with that level of offense?

Imagine a middle of the order with Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, and Chris Davis. And keep on using that imagination because it will cost a pretty penny to get Davis to sign. Davis will be entering his age 30 season. MLB Trade Rumors expects Davis will get a six-year $144 million deal that will take him through his age 35 season. We are beyond the steroid era. Can the Padres invest another $20+ million per year on another guy in his mid-30s? MLB Trade Rumors estimates that between guaranteed money, arbitration, and the league minimum salaries to fill out the roster, the Padres will have about a $110 million payroll for 2016. Can they go past $130 million? Doubtful. So the Padres would have to unload someone. So is Davis really worth it considering that the Padres have holes bigger than first base? A.J. Preller will have to decide that.


Chris Davis is not worth it. With a team that is more than a piece away from winning, Napoli doesn’t make the greatest amount of sense either. So, we come to the Padres not going after a free agent first baseman.

The best course of action is to let Wil Myers and Yonder Alonso occupy the position and for Preller to attack his shortstop problem first.