Padres sign intriguing veteran catcher with surprising power

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: General Manager A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: General Manager A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres have not slowed down their active offseason plans after the signing of Xander Bogaerts, as they filled one of the holes in their starting rotation by agreeing to terms with Seth Lugo in their quest to convert him. The next order of business for A.J. Preller was getting a catcher.

Austin Nola is a perfectly serviceable catcher at the professional level, but there is no depth behind him. Considering how one bad break can derail a catcher’s season, Preller needed to find someone that had the bat to replace Nola if his body should start to fail him.

Pedro Severino is going to turn 30 in the middle of the 2023 season and is fresh off a year in which he only played in eight games. To put it very mildly, he’s not the kind of player who would be expected to draw interest from contenders. San Diego, however, likes to think differently.

The Padres agreed to terms with Severino on a split deal that will pay him $1.95 million if he makes the major leagues. While he doesn’t have the gaudiest numbers in the world, his performance with the Baltimore Orioles shows he can be a respectable bat at the bottom of the lineup.

The San Diego Padres have signed Pedro Severino.

Severino received an 80-game suspension during what became his lone season with the Milwaukee Brewers. His three prior seasons with Baltimore are a better indication of his talent. While he wasn’t the best game-caller, as evidenced by some gnarly Orioles records, he has some pop the Padres can work with.

Per 162 games, Severino hit 23 doubles and 18 home runs while driving in 70 runs. With a 91 OPS+, there’s still some potential worth mining in his bat. Considering the state of San Diego’s depth chart, there’s a path for Severino to eventually end up back on the major league roster.

Jorge Alfaro is no longer on the roster, opening up a spot as the backup to veteran Nola. If the race comes down to Severino and youngster Luis Campusano, don’t be surprised if the Padres choose to lean on the veteran option over the younger prospect.

If Severino makes the major league roster and knocks a few dingers off the Western Metal Supply Company building, the contract will have already justified itself. The Padres need cheap veterans to step up so they can supplement their young core, and Severino could play a part in helping achieve that goal.