San Diego Padres: 6 offseason acquisitions and how they have paid off
The San Diego Padres are treading water with a record of 18-15 at the start of the 2023 season. It is too early to raise a red flag on the results. But the Friar Faithful are frustrated going 6-8 against three National League playoff-contending teams (Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets). Considering, the Padres started 3-1 against the Braves on the season’s first road trip.
April ended with encouraging signs that restored the belief the team's current play could be sustainable throughout the summer. And like other contending teams, the Padres acquired talent in various ways. Several came to the organization via trades, like Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Josh Hader and Juan Soto. Others came with pomp and circumstance associated with a big-money free agent contract, like Ha-Seong Kim and Manny Machado.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been successful using this playbook. It is early, but let’s see how this offseason's acquisitions have paid off:
San Diego Padres acquisition: Free agent SS Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts spent his entire major league career with the Boston Red Sox, but the organization decided to move on following his final season of team control. Whispers began speculating that his offensive production was waning. Granted, Bogaerts posted consistent numbers, but he had not driven in 100 runs since 2019. In his last season with the Red Sox, Bogaerts batted .307 with 15 HRs and 73 RBI. Both were career lows since 2017. The front office felt he was not worth the money being thrown around in free agency last winter.
San Diego's signing of Bogaerts as a free agent has been nothing short of spectacular. His slugging percentage (.479) and OPS (.856) are up and his fielding has been near flawless. Bogaerts defensive numbers (.982 fielding percentage and two errors in 110 chances) are near the top in the majors. He puts a glove on every ball hit in his direction, and Bogaerts arm strength is outstanding.
Offensively, his bat has made an impact at the top of the order. In 31 games, he is hitting .291 with six HRs and 13 RBIs. Bogaerts value to the Friars has more to do with providing big-game experience and leadership in the field and clubhouse.
San Diego Padres acquisition: Free agent DH Matt Carpenter
Another wise free agent signing was Matt Carpenter by the Padres. He is a valuable left-handed stick who can come off the bench to play first base or the corner outfield positions. Plus, Carpenter is a clutch playoff hitter with runners in scoring position. He has a career .218 BA with six HRs and 21 RBIs in 170 at-bats.
You would not consider him to be the face-of-the-franchise type player, but Carpenter is the man you want up with the game on the line. Time and time again, Carpenter has come through with clutch hits during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees. His postseason experience (14 series appearances) will come in handy.