Padres free agency update links them to All-Star shortstop

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Even though the San Diego Padres have Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ha-Seong Kim on the roster, A.J. Preller seems to be of the mindset that he would be doing his franchise a disservice by not poking around the free agent market and trying to sign names like Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts.

While the latter has been linked to San Diego lately, Ken Rosenthal’s latest rumor drop for the Athletic has hinted that the Padres are going to be in on a shortstop like Turner. The Dodgers and Phillies are also going to make bids for Turner, which could destabilize San Diego’s chances of becoming a World Series favorite.

After originally using a first-round pick on Turner and bizarrely allowing him to be one of the players to be named later in the Wil Myers deal, Turner has since become one of the best players in the game, irrespective of position. Preller is in the business of adding talent, and Turner certainly qualifies.

The Padres are approaching a luxury tax threshold, which could make ownership just a tad less interested in handing out boatloads of cash in free agency. However, on the flip side of that coin, Turner is one of the game’s best hitters, baserunners, and fielders. That’s not always available on the open market.

Can the San Diego Padres sign Trea Turner?

Turner’s per-162 game paces boggle the mind. Since 2016, Turner has hit .303 while averaging 202 hits, 37 doubles, 24 home runs, and 45 stolen bases. In that span, Turner won a batting title in 2021, hit .335 in the shortened 2020 season, and led the NL in steals twice.

Much like with Bogaerts, Turner would force a major infield realignment, either by moving Tatis to the outfield or shifting Turner around the infield. If Turner is sold on the project that San Diego is building, this move likely won’t perturb him to the point where he doesn’t sign.

While Manny Machado could opt out of his contract after the 2023 season, San Diego will likely try everything in its power to keep him. If Tatis accepts an outfield move, Turner and Machado will become one of the best left sides of the infield we’ve seen in decades.

The Padres have needs in the starting rotation that must be addressed, but players like Turner rarely become available in this fashion. With San Diego’s biggest rivals all trying to pilfer him away, the Padres owe it to themselves to pursue Turner.