Though the San Diego Padres‘ roster for the 2023 season seems set … nothing ever is as long as general manager AJ Preller is running the show. There are always constant tweaks being considered behind the scenes, even if things seem like they’re all fine and dandy.
With the non-tender deadline approaching on Friday, it represents a potential opportunity for Preller to shake things up once again. Will he? Padres fans truly don’t know. But he could offload some salaries, create some more flexibility and roster space, and prepare for what else is to come this offseason.
There’s certainly room for the Padres to upgrade and there’s a need for them to look ahead to 2024 and beyond: guys like Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Josh Hader and Luis Garcia will be free agents after this year. That’s half of the rotation and two important back-end bullpen pieces.
Additionally, some of those eligible for arbitration could either be sold high or aren’t suitable for what the Padres are trying to accomplish after their impressive run to the NLCS. We’re not saying look for a mass exodus before Friday evening, but don’t be surprised if there’s a move or two before the team has to tender contracts they may not be confident with.
3 Padres players who could surprisingly be traded before non-tender deadline
3. Jorge Alfaro
The Padres’ backup catcher, Jorge Alfaro, is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility and is due for a $3.6 million salary. That’s not a price they need to pay, especially with Austin Nola as the starter and entering his first year of arbitration eligibility.
It’s already been speculated Alfaro could be a non-tender candidate — which is realistic — but knowing how weak the catcher market constantly is, as well as Preller’s ability to get something out of nothing, a trade is certainly on the table.
Alfaro at $3.6 million for one year isn’t a bad deal for another team in need of catching help (whether that be a starter or a platoon situation). Alfaro had a 94 OPS+ in his 82 games played and registered a 0.2 dWAR.
The Padres don’t need that, but a number of other teams might be willing to take chance with a low-stakes trade.