1. Jake Cronenworth
Have we gone mad? No. Just hear us out.
Fernando Tatis Jr. will be back in the fold for 2023. He’s the starting shortstop. So what happens with Ha-Seong Kim? Does he move over to second base? Would the Padres then move Jake Cronenworth to first base? Or would they rather trade him, get the highest valuable possible, replenish the farm/get some more MLB talent, and then bring back someone like Josh Bell? Or sign Jose Abreu? Or Yuli Gurriel?
Cronenworth has been an All-Star for two straight seasons, but he did see his numbers dip in 2022. He batted .239 with a .722 OPS and 111 OPS+. Not All-Star numbers when all was said and done.
He’s due for $4.4 million in his first year of arbitration and will have escalating costs in 2024 and 2025. Other teams out there may value that type of control for a promising middle infielder. Meanwhile, Kim is signed through 2026 and probably has less trade value since he’s on the hook for $15 million total the next two years plus two arb years in 2025 and 2026.
Could Preller do the unthinkable and move Cronenworth for the previous aforementioned reasons that … actually make sense?
It’d be fairly shocking, yes, but what isn’t when Preller is making roster alterations?