Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
By Mike Luciano
The San Diego Padres are not afraid to spend money if it means they can fix their biggest issues on the major league roster. In need of an impact bat at the top of the lineup, A.J. Preller added one of the biggest free agents on the market in Xander Bogaerts.
Two of the team’s five main starters from last year have left in free agency, as Mike Clevinger went back to the AL Central with the White Sox and Sean Manaea joined one of the Padres’ biggest rivals by signing a two-year deal with the Giants. Yu Darvish is good, but he needs more support.
With the Mets replacing Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, Steve Cohen was willing to say goodbye to veteran right-hander Chris Bassitt. The former A’s right-hander signed a three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, though that deal almost didn’t come to fruition.
Per Jon Heyman, the Padres were close to signing Bassitt before he ultimately chose to join Toronto. This shows that not only is Preller still looking for more starting pitching, but he’s trying to sign players at the higher end of the market in order to fill what he perceives as holes.
The San Diego Padres missed on Chris Bassitt.
Bassitt has flown under the radar due to his long career in Oakland, but he’s been one of the most consistent right-handers in the game. In the last three seasons, Bassitt has gone 32-15 with a 3.13 ERA while surrendering just 40 home runs in over 400 innings.
San Diego has a high-end collection of top-three starters in Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. As it stands right now, a former long reliever Nick Martinez is the No. 4 starter. The No. 5 starter is…potentially not in the building right now? A top prospect? Who knows!
If the Padres truly believe in Martinez as a starter, all they need is one more veteran to fill that No. 4 role until the next batch of prospects is ready to come up. Bassitt would have been ideal despite his age, but Toronto seemed to be just a bit more proactive in this area.
Landing Bogaerts was phenomenal, but there is still much work to be done. If Preller misses on another Bassitt-level pitcher and fails to construct a rotation that can pitch well in September and October, the team faces long odds of passing the Dodgers in the NL West.