A.J. Preller may have helped the San Diego Padres turn themselves into a championship contender over the last few seasons, but one area of weakness on this team is a relatively volatile bullpen. Even after Josh Hader returned to his old form, the results were mixed.
Surprises like Nabil Crismatt and Robert Suarez were sensational, but San Diego has to see pitchers like greybeard Craig Stammen, Adrian Morejon, and Tim Hill eat up tons of innings. Preller needs to get a seventh or eighth-inning guy they can trust behind Hader, should he be retained.
The Seattle Mariners, who also made a surprising postseason run, might be willing to help San Diego out. The M’s have a surplus of bullpen pieces that could be swapped for more offensive depth, with one of their best late-inning options looking ideal for the Padres.
If Preller wants to get some more experienced bullpen arms for 2023, Mariners veteran and San Diego alum Paul Sewald could be an option worth pursuing. Given Sewald’s age and the emergence of valued bullpen arms like Penn Murfee and Andres Munoz, Dipoto might feel comfortable dumping the former Mets reliever for help elsewhere.
Will the San Diego Padres add Paul Sewald?
After getting lit up in his Mets tenure, Sewald has been a revelation in Seattle. Sewald has posted a 2.87 ERA in 127 games with the Mariners with a 137 ERA+. With 31 saves in the last two seasons, Sewald has often acted as the closer for a young team finding their footing.
Sewald, who will turn 33 next season, could enter arbitration for the next two years before becoming a free agent. San Diego would need to part with either one offensive depth piece or a somewhat pro-ready arm to get him, but Preller will likely not be afraid of that cost.
Assuming that Hader is going to be a long-term asset for this year, getting a proven veteran righty like Sewald will be the fireman that can quell rallies before the lanky lefty comes in. If Hader’s control starts to leave him again, turning to someone who has been on fire over the last two years should make the Padres a less volatile club.
Preller and Dipoto are seemingly never satisfied with their rosters, meaning that the possibility of a trade between the two parties remains high. The Padres need to give Seattle a substantial offer to get him, but the guy who just traded MacKenzie Gore likely won’t care.