The San Diego Padres missing out on Trea Turner is a tough pill to swallow. The Padres felt their offer could get a deal done, but the coveted shortstop opted to reunite with former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper in Philly to the tune of an 11-year, $300 million contract that includes a full no trade clause.
It’s unclear if AJ Preller will pursue another star shortstop, but the general manger must shift his attention elsewhere for the time being. With holes at first base, catcher, left field and the pitching staff, Padres fans aren’t irrational for wanting the team to make a few splashes at the Winter Meetings.
Might catcher be the next domino to fall for San Diego?
While Austin Nola and Luis Campusano form a passable platoon, neither player should dissuade Preller from perusing the market for upgrades.
With the A’s Sean Murphy likely to cost too much in terms of prospects, and free agent Willson Contreras likely to command a substantial contract, the Padres are reportedly interested in World Series-winner Christian Vazquez.
The Padres are interested in Astros free agent catcher Christian Vazquez.
A former Red Sox draft pick who spent his first eight years in Boston, Vazquez was jettisoned to Houston before the 2022 trade deadline. He’s one of the game’s premier hitting catchers and game managers behind the dish.
In fact, opponents scored just one run in the 33 innings Vazquez caught for the Astros in the postseason. While Houston’s pitching staff is elite top to bottom, it definitely helped having a catcher with Vazquez’s savvy calling pitches.
Like Turner and Jose Abreu before him, though, San Diego will have competition to land Vazquez’s signature. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal understands the Cardinals, Guardians, Twins and Cubs are all interested in signing the two-time champ.
The Astros would like to re-sign Vazquez, but he’s seeking a starting role, and Houston wants to run it back with a platoon of Vazquez and Martin Maldonado.
With Vazquez likely to ink a three- or four-year deal, the Padres would have security at the position for the foreseeable future. It would also allow them to shop Austin Nola, and those talks have seemingly already started.
Nola’s offensive production is fine, but his .254/.317/.348 slash line with the Padres (665 plate appearances) pales in comparison to Vazquez’s .274/.315/399 showing with nine home runs, 52 RBI and 20 doubles this past season.
Given the disappointment among Padres officials after losing out on Turner and Abreu, it’d be stunning if they let Vazquez slip through their fingertips.