This offseason has been rough so far for the San Diego Padres. Coming off a disappointing 82-80 season with no postseason appearance, the Friars have only seen key players leave while failing to make any major additions thus far. Juan Soto and Trent Grisham were traded away while Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez, and Luis Garcia have all joined new teams via free agency.
The Padres haven't signed anyone to a MLB deal and we haven't even seen them connected to many free agents. With their financial situation in flux, it's hard to know exactly what San Diego can even afford to do in free agency.
One of the players they were linked to was Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee. With the Padres trading away two-thirds of their outfield, their interest made tons of sense. Unfortunately, Lee inked a six-year deal worth $113 million with the division rival San Francisco Giants. Lee would've been a great get for San Diego, but he was very clearly out of their price range. A.J. Preller must pivot quickly to fill needs on the roster as the market should move quicker with Shohei Ohtani off the board. These three players would help fill gaping holes on the roster.
1) The Padres should sign Marcus Stroman
The Padres managed to acquire four pitchers in the big Juan Soto trade with the Yankees. Adding depth is great, but only one of the four, Michael King, figures to have a spot locked into the Padres rotation. King joins Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish as the guaranteed starting pitchers Mike Shildt will have at his disposal. That is, obviously, not enough.
If San Diego was seriously in on Lee who received a nine-figure deal, then it makes sense to assume they have the money necessary to sign a pitcher like Marcus Stroman who is not in the top tier of pitchers in free agency but would be a great Seth Lugo replacement.
Stroman was an All-Star last season with the Chicago Cubs, posting a 3.95 ERA in 27 appearances (25 starts). He did not finish strong and missed time due to injury, but his first half saw him post a sub-3.00 ERA and help keep the Cubs afloat.
Stroman throughout his career has been mostly durable and an effective innings eater when healthy. His ground ball-inducing repertoire should fit in well in front of what should be a solid infield defense. MLB Trade Rumors predicts a two-year deal worth $44 million. Perhaps San Diego can add an extra year or two to the 32-year-old's deal to lower the AAV a bit. If so, it'd be a really nice fit.