3 low-cost free agents Padres can target with limited offseason budget

The days of excessive spending are over in San Diego. But the Padres could still fill out a competitive roster without breaking the bank.
San Diego Padres executive A.J. Preller
San Diego Padres executive A.J. Preller / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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Padres could target free agent outfielder Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks is a California native, so why not bring him home? Despite an absolutely horrific start to the 2023 season, which ultimately ended his time in pinstripes, Hicks was able to bounce back after landing with the New York Yankees' AL East rival.

Hicks hit his stride in Baltimore. The Orioles had nothing to lose and everything to gain after picking up the veteran outfielder. Hicks posted a slash line of just .188/.263/.261 in the Bronx before being unceremoniously designated for assignment.

The O's swooped in, picked him up, and never looked back. Hicks hit .275/.381/.425 with Baltimore and also obliterated left-handed pitching. The veteran posted a .970 OPS against southpaws last season.

Hicks is a switch-hitter, who obviously performs better against lefties, but would still give new manager Mike Shildt some flexibility to mix-and-match the lineup as he sees fit. Hicks is also a versatile fielder who's primary responsibilities were in center field throughout most of his Yankees' tenure, but he was used in both corner outfield spots last season.

The Padres outfield, at the moment, is Fernando Tatis Jr. and a whole lot of question marks. San Diego traded Juan Soto and is not going to sign a high-priced free agent like Cody Bellinger, but maybe Hicks would provide enough in 2024 to help keep the Friars afloat in the National League West.