We are approximately six weeks away from the start of spring training and the San Diego Padres have some work to do on revamping their 2024 roster. The dawn of a new season is a good time to speculate on what player moves are next.
There is still time in the offseason, but the sand is slowly leaving the hourglass. Friars President of Baseball Operations and General Manager A.J. Preller is not shy to turn over his roster in one day. He has done it twice during his tenure as a Padres executive. Expect the unexpected from Preller.
The Friar Faithful expect team ownership to be fully committed on improving the roster by putting all the options on the table. Of course, a number of variables will determine what is the Padres next move.
The Padres Need Two Experienced Starting Pitchers
The projected 2024 Padres starting rotation:
- Joe Musgrove
- Yu Darvish
- Michael King
Injuries and innings limitations are the concerns for the Friars starters in 2024. Musgrove (broken toe and shoulder) made just 17 starts with a 3.05 ERA last season. Darvish (elbow) made 24 starts with a 4.56 ERA. Their absences from the lineup made life difficult for the Padres last season. Both pitchers must have a relatively injury-free season for the Friars to have any shot of a winning record.
King had a 2.75 ERA in a combined bullpen/starter role (9 starts) with the 2023 New York Yankees. He recorded 104.2 IP last season, which doubled his prior season total. The jury is still out if King can handle the workload of being a major league starting pitcher. He may need to skip a start or two to be effective all season.
Still, the Friars need to acquire two innings-eating starters that bolster the back end of the rotation. They do not need to be flashy or dominant but provide solid five or six innings of work for each start. It will help to lessen the bullpen's workload over a 162-game schedule.
Expect the Padres to pursue a couple of experienced pitchers on one-year deals. Free agents Marcus Stroman, Domingo German, or Shota Imanaga could become potential targets. The Padres have not confirmed if they had internal conversations on these starting pitchers. But no starter should be ruled out.
On the trade front, the Friars could set their eyes on Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes. He is eligible to become a free agent after next season. He recorded a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. It is a tough decision for the Brewers to choose trading Burnes now or at the deadline. He is a bargain at the current salary market rate, as Burnes will earn $15 million in 2024.
Another candidate is Chicago White Sox RHP Dylan Cease, who is coming off a disappointing 2023 season. He was 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts, which is a far cry from his stellar 2022 campaign. Cease was 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA in 32 starts. It was good enough for him to finish second behind Houston Astros Justin Verlander in the American League Cy Young Award voting.