This Christmas, what do the San Diego Padres want most? We break down the team’s wish list, which includes possible solutions to five major needs.
This Christmas season, A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres will hopefully take a bit of a break from pursuing free agents and improving the roster. With the holiday season among us, there are more important things than baseball.
However, the time that many fans have off leading up to the new year can be used contemplating the top needs of their baseball team. With as much assistance San Diego will need for 2017, it is a good time to create a brief wish list for the Padres.
As the offseason hits the home stretch, the time for making these moves is short. The last month to fulfill their desires will begin as the new year rolls around, making it very important for the front office to understand their goals before 2017 begins.
Based on their top five needs, the Padres wish list looks like this:
One more starting pitcher
The Padres aren’t too picky here. Whether it is in the form of re-signing either free agents Edwin Jackson or Tyson Ross, or if it is going elsewhere, this is not significant. The important thing for the Padres is that they find one more starter to round out the rotation.
For a rotation presumably made up of Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich, and Luis Perdomo, one more starter is needed to avoid an all out competition for the fifth spot. With the importance of starting pitching, this need jumps to the top of San Diego’s list.
Minor League pitching depth
It’s definitely not the most exciting thing, but signings of minor leaguers fans may not have heard of ought not to be overlooked. As January approaches, this should be one focus of the front office prior to 2017’s Spring Training.
The simple truth is, no rotation is going to go a full 162 games unscathed. There will be injuries and other inconveniences which call for immediate action. This underscores the need for a strong minor league system with pitching prospects.
Sometimes, teams will call on a member of their bullpen to make a spot start. But there are times when the next AAA starter in line needs to be called up. The Padres’ organization do not want their top El Paso pitchers to lack major league experience. This is why less than splashy moves like these should be a priority in January.
Extra corner infielder
The Padres’ infield is not terrible, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding it. Wil Myers is a solid first baseman, and likely the best player on the roster. There were many rumors about Yangervis Solarte, but no trade has yet to come to fruition involving the third baseman. Solarte would be considered solid as well.
But other than these two, there is no safety net at first or third on the major league roster, or major league ready in the minors. Ryan Schimpf can move over from second, which provides a bit of security. Still, if San Diego would rather have Schimpf at second instead of Cory Spangenberg, it would be ideal to bring in a corner infielder who can hit for power.
The loss of Alexi Amarista will hurt the Padres more than many realize. His contributions as a utility infielder came in handy in 2016, hitting .257 in 65 games. For a young team with a lot of uncertainty on the infielder, bringing in a veteran presence who can play multiple positions is worth the investment.
Left-handed super reliever
The final wish on San Diego’s list this Christmas is the least important, but it sure would be nice. With the super reliever phenomenon spreading through the majors, the Padres would love to add a southpaw in the bullpen who can fill this role.
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A player like Andrew Miller of the Cleveland Indians can transform an entire pitching staff. Having a dominant bridge to the closer prevents any sort of lapse in the 6th through 8th innings. Plus, with a rotation like San Diego’s, it would be very beneficial to have a reliever who can come in early in the game and go as long as needed.
If this reliever is left-handed, even better. This is because each San Diego starter except for Richard will most likely be right-handed, as are most of their relievers. A southpaw in the pen who can pitch anywhere from the 6th to the 8th can be sent in strategically depending on the part of the order coming up. Mixing it up like this can throw hitters off balance, changing the complexion of a game.
Whether or not a pitcher like this will be available to a team like San Diego is still unknown. After all, these super relievers are a relatively rare commodity. It is very possible that Ryan Buchter can burst on to the scene and become a pitcher like this. But acquiring a proven reliever of this style would still perfectly round out a successful offseason.
Merry Christmas to all San Diego fans! Go Padres!