At this point, the San Diego Padres' needs are pretty well defined going into 2024. They need some more starting pitching, and getting their outfield sorted out is going to be a priority as well. With multiple starters leaving in free agency, the need in the rotation currently should be at the top of the list.
So far, there has been very little in the way of progress there. They tried to bring back Seth Lugo, but he ultimately landed with the Royals. Adding Michael King from the Juan Soto deal certainly helps, but bringing in one or two proven arms still seems like something that needs to happen before the start of spring training, unless they are absolutely in love with one of their young guys.
One free agent starter, Noah Syndergaard, appeared to be on the Padres' radar at some point. Thankfully, the most recent update regarding Syndergaard's free agency doesn't have the Padres as a suitor at this point because relying on Thor is a fool's errand.
The Padres need to avoid Noah Syndergaard in free agency
In that report, FanSided's own Robert Murray noted Syndergaard threw a bullpen session with around half the league in attendance, and it sounds like he looked pretty good. However, Thor always looks good when he's on the mound not facing hitters. The problem is that he hasn't been able to stay healthy enough, and when he's actually pitched in games in recent years, he hasn't been effective.
Since 2020 alone, Syndergaard has had Tommy John surgery and has thrown just 225 1/3 big league innings with a 4.99 ERA. His once prodigious strikeout rate has plummeted to a poor 6.1 batters per nine innings over that same span. Thor may still be able to throw pretty hard and look good in a bullpen session, but he's clearly a shell of his former self when it comes to actually pitching.
Assuming the Padres are indeed looking at other options, avoiding Syndergaard is the right move. The free agent market is certainly starting to thin out, but there are still plenty of serviceable starters that won't break the bank out there, and San Diego could also give prospects Robby Snelling or Adam Mazur a look this spring. The Padres may need pitching, but signing Thor is more likely to be a waste of money that the team can't afford at this point.