The San Diego Padres were certainly making waves in the offseason, as the signing of Xander Bogaerts goes to show that this team is not messing around when it comes to building a winner. Brandon Drury, however, was not going to come along for the ride.
While the Padres acquired Juan Soto at the trade deadline, they also managed to scoop up Josh Bell in that deal while plucking Drury away from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for young prospect Victor Acosta. Drury proceeded to hit .238 while clubbing eight home runs for San Diego.
Unfortunately for San Diego, AJ Preller didn't get much long-term value out of either of these players. Bell signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Guardians that left the Padres with a hole at first base Jake Cronenworth will likely try to fill, and Drury signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
With Jurickson Profar still on the market and every team in need of a Swiss Army knife utility guy, it makes sense that the Angels were so proactive in signing him. Some Padres fans might be disappointed, but this was the right move, given the trajectory of his career and his past history.
The San Diego Padres chose not to resign Brandon Drury.
Drury may have hit .263 with 28 home runs and 87 RBI last year, but he had never hit more than 16 jacks or drove in more than 63 runs in a season. Those numbers were assuredly inflated by playing in perhaps the most hitter-friendly non-Coors Field ballpark in the league in Cincinnati.
Drury hit .298 with 12 homers at Great American Ball Park, but he hit .195 at Petco Park. With Drury about to turn 31 years old in the middle of next season and the Padres needing to be mindful of every dollar they spend on role players. He carries more risk than most veteran utility guys.
Matt Carpenter made more sense for this team right now.
Considering that Drury grew up as an Angels fan and the family vacationed in Anaheim every year whe he was a child, it seems like LA was always going to have pole position over San Diego if push ever came to shove. His relationship with former Padres star Phil Nevin also helped swing him.
The Padres were facing an uphill battle to retain Drury in the first place, and committing to him for multiple seasons based off a promising first half of a contract year may not have been the savviest move. Preller showed some admirable, and justified, restraint here.