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 pitcher Alex Wood

As much as the Padres need left-handed hitters, they just as desperately need left-handed pitchers. San Diego's rotation has taken a major hit this winter, and if Preller doesn't go the trade route in order to make upgrades, the Padres President of Baseball Operations may have to rely on free agency.

There's no shortage of left-handers available on the open market, but quantity doesn't always mean quality. Pitchers like Hyun-Jin Ryu, James Paxton and Danny Duffy don't really offer much upside or excitement.

But maybe a familiar face would help the Padres pitching staff in 2024. Alex Wood has spent much of his career in the state of California. The lefty played for five years at Chavez Ravine and spent the past three seasons in the Bay Area pitching for the San Francisco Giants.

Wood showed versatility this past season, starting 12 games while coming out of the 'pen 17 times as a reliever. The veteran covered just less than 100 innings in 2023 and owned a 4.33 ERA. Wood is unlikely to return to his All-Star-level form (2017), but the southpaw can act as a stabilizing force in the Padres rotation or the bullpen.

San Diego needs to find some way to bolster its beleaguered starting rotation. Wood has had tremendous success at Petco Park over the years. In 11 outings, the left-hander owns a .465 OPS-against, 1.27 ERA, and 0.85 WHIP. Those numbers alone are enough of a reason for Preller to pick up the phone.