San Diego Padres: Pitching Priority, but not only Goal of Winter Meetings

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Aug 14, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard (27) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /
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The San Diego Padres clearly need pitching more than anything this winter, but it isn’t the only position they ought to be shopping for.

The San Diego Padres are entering the winter meetings this week with a long wish list. General manager A.J. Preller has already made it very clear that he is seeking pitching, and lots of it.

But the Padres need to be careful. They must understand two things. First, that they are a young team not poised for a title run in 2017. And second, that just because San Diego’s most pressing need is pitching doesn’t mean that the rest of their roster is good to go just yet.

Free agency is an area in which the organization absolutely must thrive in this critical offseason. Getting two or three starters will be important, as they must solidify an otherwise young and thin rotation.

Signing a well known pitcher, but not one that will break the bank is what Preller must accomplish. Names such as Derek Holland or Jorge De La Rosa would be good signings because they strike the balance between cost efficiency and ace material.

Two or three additions such as these would make these next several days a major success for the Padres as far as pitching goes. However, there is more work to be done.

Needs besides pitching

Other than the outfield and second base positions, there is no area in which the Padres should feel secure moving into 2017. The need for another infielder is clear. With Alexi Amarista becoming a free agent, this young unit will be missing a useful veteran utility infielder.

The team also needs a power hitter which can play at third and first. Ryan Schimpf may end up moving over to the hot corner, especially if Yangervis Solarte is traded. But the team is still thin at these positions.

In fact, there is no one behind Wil Myers at first base on the team’s depth chart. Of course, the 25-year-old has proven that he can play every day. Still, with only two capable players for two very unique positions, the Padres should be actively searching for an addition to add depth.

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When looking at San Diego’s young roster, the future looks bright. But in order to be competitive in 2016, they must add a bat. Many fans see that each position is filled with young talent, and dismiss any possible need to improve. This however, is a horrible mistake. Just because they have players to fill these positions doesn’t mean that the same players can come together and form a formidable lineup.

In actuality, San Diego is missing a true cleanup hitter. Before Schimpf or Hunter Renfroe can step into the power hitting role, someone else will. This is why it would be smart of Preller to pursue a veteran cleanup hitter. While he won’t be part of the long term solution, he will be critical to the team’s development in the meantime.

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This hitter doesn’t need to be a big splash signing as San Diego has tried to do in the past. And actually, he shouldn’t be. Even though the Padres do not currently have a player signed earning more than a million dollars a year, they don’t need to try to change this. Keeping whatever signings they make affordable is key, which is certainly easier said than done. But the degree to which Preller and the Padres can do this will determine how much success they enjoy in the coming seasons.

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