I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the number of free-agents that would still be available just hours before most teams begin their first workouts of the spring. The San Diego Padres could fill a need for a good price if they choose to do so.
The San Diego Padres don’t necessarily need another starting pitcher. Sure, it would help. But is investing big money over a lot of years into a veteran front-end pitcher worth it to this team? A lot of folks are very comfortable heading into the 2018 season with the current pitchers on this staff, and rightfully so.
Clayton Richard, Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo, and a combination of Colin Rea, Robbie Erlin, and Bryan Mitchell should keep the Friars competitive. There’s a lot of talent at the top of the rotation and the back-end guys have the capability among them to keep this team afloat every two-out-of-five days.
But let’s say, hypothetically, that Eric Hosmer does indeed go back to Kansas City and the Padres are left with some money that was earmarked for Hosmer. They could hold onto that money and move into the season with the squad they have now. Or they could look to spend it more economically, perhaps on a free-agent starting pitcher.
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Who would be the ideal, cost-effective SP target for the San Diego Padres?
The biggest name still left out there on the starting pitching market is, without a doubt, Jake Arietta. The 31-year-old former Cy Young Award winner reportedly turned down a 6-year offer from the Cubs before they turned their attention back to Yu Darvish, as per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
For the San Diego Padres to go out and put similar money into Arietta would be debilitating to this team’s future. If Arietta really is looking for 6-7 years in the $200 million range, the Padres simply need to stay away.
A more reasonable and feasible option for the Friars would be a cost-effective, economical veteran starter from the middle-tier of remaining free-agents. Someone like a Jeremy Hellickson, or our old friend Andrew Cashner would fill that fourth spot in the rotation and give the younger and/or injured hurlers the time they need to develop/heal up.
If the San Diego Padres can’t land Eric Hosmer and don’t want to pony up the dough for Jake Arietta, a Hellickson or Cashner, or even a guy like Jason Vargas (full list of available free-agent pitchers, via Spotrac) would give this pitching staff a little more credibility and a little more insurance in case something goes wrong.