Padres sign Dodgers killer to fill utility role in stroke of genius by AJ Preller
By Jerry Trotta
The San Diego Padres have been busy bolstering their roster even after their blockbuster signing of Xander Bogaerts. Between signing Seth Lugo to anchor the pitching staff, and inking veteran catcher Pedro Severino to a one-year deal, AJ Preller isn’t resting on his laurels after landing one of the premier free agents.
With a strong foundation already in place, and having made a handful of additions this offseason, Preller doesn’t have to search far and wide for holes to plug. Ideally, the team will add another starter for depth purposes, and a veteran bat to fill the designated hitter role so David Dahl isn’t the guy for Opening Day.
With Christmas just days away, Preller has fulfilled fans wishes.
Per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, veteran Matt Carpenter is in agreement with the Padres on a one-year deal with a player option for 2024.
Not only does Carpenter give the Padres legitimate pop at DH and incredible versatility — the best of any player left on the market — but he’s absolutely killed the Dodgers in his career, especially in October.
The Padres have signed former All-Star Matt Carpenter.
A lifetime Cardinal until 2022, Carpenter appeared headed for retirement after hitting a combined .177/.315/.294 in 2020 and 2021 with St. Louis. Incredibly, though, Carpenter landed on his feet with the Yankees last season and rediscovered his All-Star form as a regular in Aaron Boone’s lineup.
Over 47 games, Carpenter hit .305/.412/.727 with 15 home runs and 37 RBI. Unfortunately, Carpenter lost most of that magic after he missed over a month with a broken foot suffered in August. For a two-month stretch, though, Carpenter was the second-most important Yankees hitter behind AL MVP Aaron Judge, proving he can still contribute to a winning team in the twilight of his career.
It’s unrealistic to think Carpenter will hit over .300 with a 217 OPS+ again, but he’ll see plenty of good pitches hitting behind Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Jake Cronenworth.
The fact Carpenter’s raked against the Dodgers is an added bonus. In 10 postseason games against Los Angeles in his career, the 37-year-old has hit .308/.364/.718 with three homers, nine RBI, five doubles and eight runs scored.
Nothing like making the Dodgers sweat a little bit, right? Not that the Padres need to do that themselves, as LA has pinched its pennies this offseason more than we’ve seen in recent memory. And do we need to remind the people that San Diego beat out their NL West rivals to sign Seth Lugo just 24 hours ago?
Tough not to love everything about this signing.