Just because the San Diego Padres may have to cut payroll heading into 2024 doesn't mean they won't be players in free agency.
In fact, there are more than a handful of affordable options available to the Friars this winter as they seek necessary reinforcements. And where better to look for said reinforcements than Los Angeles, where the division rival Dodgers have some useful players that are likely on the outs.
Here are three Los Angeles Dodgers free agents the San Diego Padres could poach this offseason.
1) The San Diego Padres could sign relief pitcher Joe Kelly
Perhaps not as universally famous as the Crying Jordan face, baseball fans won't soon forget Joe Kelly's pouty expression aimed at the Astros as he walked off the mound in Houston back in 2020.
That's the kind of swagger a team like the Padres, which already fancies itself as "Slam Diego," could use next season.
Kelly, 35, is on the older side, but was still productive in relief this past season. Over 39.1 innings pitched, he whiffed 60 batters while posting a 4.12 ERA. Don't focus on the latter too much, though, because his FIP was 2.72, suggesting some bad luck on his part. A mid-season trade from the White Sox to the Dodgers improved Kelly's performance, and positive regression is likely due in 2024. These factors should attract GM A.J. Preller's attention.
Furthermore, the 35-year-old reliever should come at a reasonable price given his age. A one or two-year deal may suffice, while giving the San Diego Padres some solid back-end relief to fill the void soon to be left behind by Josh Hader.