Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals
The running theme in this search of first base offense for the Padres is that the teams of these players are not going anywhere in 2023. Yes, Cleveland is only a half-game out of first in the AL Central, but the general consensus is that kind of won't mean much come October so let's just work with that caveat.
The Nationals are dead last in the NL East, a mere 23.5 games behind Atlanta, and 12.0 games out of the NL Wild Card. As its been known since about the Kentucky Derby, it ain't happening in D.C. this season. It's time to keep looking towards the future in Washington, the somewhat distant future. The Nationals' status as a bottom of the standings team would make you think that they'd be wheeling and dealing heading into the August 1 trade deadline, but its been the complete opposite in Washington. The only moves the Nats have made over the past few weeks have all been internal within the organization, promoting, designating, re-assigning minor leaguers in and out of Washington and their minor league locations. The activity gives the look of a team evaluating what they have in their farm system rather selling those who have made it or will make it to play in the nation's capital. I'll give them credit for that, but there's one player Washington should be all ears on.
Although 31 years old, this is only the second season for Joey Meneses in the bigs and he's another sophomore slugger who is excelling in The Show. The designated hitter who can also play some first base is hitting .283 with eight homers and 58 RBI, building nicely off his .324 rookie average over just 56 games.
Meneses' first full season is putting him on pace to best both his home run and RBI rookie totals. After hitting .280 in April and .315 in May, the Nationals DH cooled off in June to the tune of a .238 average, but has rebounded in July with a .261 average. Meneses has hit .291 over the last seven days and has hit safely in nine of the last 11 games. Some splits that should look tantalizing to Padres brass is that Meneses hit .333 last August and .318 in September/October and, although he's primarily been the DH this season, he is a .316 hitter when playing first base. Meneses is also on a one-year $700,000-plus contract.
Like Vaughn, but a tad bit pricier, Meneses could fetch the Nationals two nice prospects from San Diego.