As the offseason quickly approaches, the San Diego Padres should look at signing a starting pitcher that can eat a few innings.
The main focus of this offseason for the San Diego Padres needs to be starting pitching. Overall, the 2018 starting rotation was pretty disastrous and while a few more rookie arms are expected to earn their shot at a rotation spot in 2019, most of these names are fringe prospects or back end of the rotation arms. San Diego doesn’t need to offer up another $100 million+ contract to a free agent arm, but they do need a rotation leader.
The word “ace” isn’t used here because no one on this current roster is an ace of a major league rotation and no upcoming free agent is the type of arm that can lead a playoff rotation. There is one name, Patrick Corbin, however, every major market franchise will be bidding for Corbin’s services this winter, meaning a very large payday for the 29-year-old Arizona Diamondback.
Outside of Corbin, there aren’t very many overly-impressive names heading to the open market. If San Diego is going to focus on upgrading their starting rotation, they will have to look towards the trade market, which may be a smart idea as the team looks to turn this elite farm system into a winning major league franchise.
Current San Diego Padres rotation is severely lacking.
As for the current rotation, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer had successful rookie seasons and show great promise as being major league starting pitchers, but we need to see how the league adjusts to them and how they adjust to the league. Both young men appear more than capable of rising up to the challenge.
But who leads this staff? Before knee surgery ended his season early, Clayton Richard posted a 7.50 ERA in the month of July and a 7.48 ERA in August. He struck out 24 and walked 27 across his final 52 innings of work. Nearly 40% of all opposing hitters reached base against Richard during this time frame. True, he pitched for much of the season when he shouldn’t have, is a true clubhouse leader, and his fellow pitchers are quick to praise his work ethic and value. But through the lens of a #1 pitcher, Richard is far from that. Slot him in as 4/5 starter and you have yourself something.
San Diego starters finished 2018 with the fourth-highest ERA in the league (5.09), seventh-highest BB/9 rate (3.42), seventh-lowest K/9 rate (7.43), third-lowest total innings pitched (822), and third-lowest in fWAR (4.0)
On the next slide, we take a look at three free agent pitchers the San Diego Padres should take a look at this offseason.