The San Diego Padres broke Boston fans’ hearts when they inked star shortstop Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million contract. It was a jaw-dropping move that speaks to general manager AJ Preller’s desire to win a World Series … and ability to dust himself off after whiffing on Trea Turner and Aaron Judge.
While Padres fans are (still) celebrating the blockbuster move — which have became routine during Preller’s reign in the front office — the GM is back to the drawing board scheming up ways to complete the roster.
Rumors have died down following the winter meetings, but San Diego could use reinforcements in its starting rotation, bullpen and designated hitter. While the pitcher market is still robust despite numerous starters/relievers coming off the board, the DH market is more slow-moving and offers less upside.
With seemingly all eight fielding positions set in stone (assuming Jake Cronenworth shifts to first base), here are some cost-effective designated hitters the Friars should pursue after breaking the bank to land Bogaerts.
3 realistic DHs for the Padres after Xander Bogaerts signing
3. Luke Voit
We see you on Twitter campaigning for the club to bring back Voit, Padres fans! And you know what? It’s not such a crazy idea.
A free agent for the first time in his career after the Nationals opted against tendering him a contract for the 2023 season, Voit led all of baseball with 22 home runs during the truncated 2020 season and finished ninth in AL MVP voting.
Voit clubbed 22 dingers again in 2022, but struck out a career-high 179 times; the sixth-most of any player in the league. That’s the one caveat with asking Voit to fill the designated hitter role. Like a talented wide receiver stuck in a bad offense, the former Yankee is the definition of boom-or-bust as a hitter.
Traded to Washington in the Juan Soto blockbuster, Voit has familiarity with the Padres and would see more pitches to hit than ever before with Soto, Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Jake Cronenworth all likely to hit before him. Perhaps Voit’s strikeout rate will regress with all that protection.
We’d understand if the Padres opted for more of a sure thing for their DH vacancy, but they can afford a peak-and-valley slugger like Voit in this lineup, and 20 homers and 60 RBI would be more than enough production.