For much of the 2023 season, it looked like the Atlanta Braves were the team to beat. They had one of, if not the best offenses in MLB history led by likely NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr., and their pitching staff was very elite as well with former San Diego Padres farmhand Max Fried playing a huge role as always.
The postseason remained as unpredictable as ever, however, with Atlanta being sent home early for a second consecutive year by their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. While often times when teams are eliminated from the postseason they have some key players on expiring contracts, the Braves are fortunate to have most of their core locked in for a very long time.
While the Padres will not be acquiring players like Acuna, Austin Riley, or Matt Olson this offseason, there are some intriguing free agents the team could consider bringing in as they look to compete themselves in 2024.
1) Charlie Morton
The Padres rotation is a serious concern right now with Blake Snell hitting free agency, Seth Lugo likely following suit, and Michael Wacha having an expensive club option. We know Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove will be in there, but the rest of the rotation is completely up in the air.
With the Padres looking to save money this offseason, Snell feels like an obvious goner. That alone means the Padres need to be looking to add another starter, even if Lugo and Wacha do wind up returning. Charlie Morton makes a whole lot of sense in that regard.
Sure, the fact that he's 40 years old might turn some people off, but he remained as steady as they come in the 2023 season. The right-hander had a 3.64 ERA in 30 starts and 163.1 innings pitched. He might be older, but he would've ranked second on this Padres team with that innings total only behind Snell.
Bringing Morton in for a year to try and win a ring makes a ton of sense. He does have a club option worth $20 million that Atlanta could exercise, but if they refuse to do so, San Diego should come calling.