The worst kept secret this offseason when it comes to the San Diego Padres is that they are looking to add starting pitching. The Padres' 2024 rotation as it stands simply isn't good enough or complete enough to start the season.
Could San Diego just let their internal options have a battle royale for two rotation spots in spring training? Maybe, but you will struggle to find anyone that thinks it's a good idea.
There have been signs of movement there, though. They did reportedly kick the tires on Noah Syndergaard before deciding to wisely jump ship there. Michael Lorenzen is on their radar, but one name that came out of nowhere as an option is one of their former first-round picks, Eric Lauer.
Padres Rumors: MLB Insider connects San Diego with free agent starter Eric Lauer
FanSided's own MLB insider Robert Murray revealed on "The Baseball Insiders" podcast that the Padres were one of the teams that are looking at signing Eric Lauer, who recently held a workout for teams. San Diego drafted Lauer with the 25th overall pick in 2016 and he ended up debuting in the big leagues in 2018. After posting a 4.40 ERA across two seasons with the Padres, he was sent to the Brewers in a trade that brought Trent Grisham to San Diego.
Objectively, Lauer's 2023 season was pretty lousy. His fourth season with Milwaukee saw him post a 6.56 ERA in 10 starts before the Brewers designated him for assignment after the season and he elected free agency. There isn't much to like about any of his performance from 2023, but his Statcast profiles from 2021 and 2022 hold at least some hope that he can be an innings eater-type of starter.
Ultimately, Lauer is only an option the Padres should entertain if he's truly cheap, and not just cheap relative to what a lot of free agent starting pitchers are getting these days. If that's the case, he's worthy gamble, especially if he looked good in his workout. However, if he's wanting real money, San Diego should look at options that haven't had persistent issues with walks and aren't coming off the worst season of their career.