Baseball’s offseason has arrived. General managers across the league are gathering for their annual meeting this week. Scottsdale, Arizona, is where teams begin the groundwork in shaping their 2024 rosters.
Inevitably, a couple of major trades and free-agent signings will impact the outcome of next season. And for the San Diego Padres, the front office will need to reconfigure their starting rotation. They could lose as many as three starters via free agency.
It's early in the process, but let’s take a look at the dream San Diego Padres 2024 starting rotation:
Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove co-aces?
Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove are the No. 1 and 2 starters in the Friars starting rotation next season. If the team is going to have a winning record, both pitchers must perform at a high level in 2024.
Darvish had a very up-and-down 2023 season, which raised concerns if there was still dominance somewhere inside his right arm. Whispers of a long-term injured list stay followed Darvish at every turn in the second half.
Even so, he kept pitching until it was physically impossible for him to continue. Unfortunately, injuries took a toll on his body as Darvish looked lost in each start. His ERA soared to 4.80 in August before exiting the roster.
The nightmare ending to his 2023 season has everyone wondering if Darvish could duplicate his dominance on the mound again. Could he ever replicate his past accomplishments in the majors once more?
The answer is no, but Darvish can still dominate by using his entire pitching repertoire.
At times, Musgrove’s time with the Padres has been straight out of a Hollywood movie. He burst into the spotlight and became an unsung hero in the 2022 postseason. Each start was appointment watching for the Friar Faithful. Often, his brilliance outshined others in a big playoff game win.
However, lingering injuries cast a shadow over him all last season. A broken big toe and shoulder inflammation contributed to Musgrove's failure to capture the height of his dominance. He posted a 3.05 ERA, which was good enough for a 134 ERA+ last season. Musgrove struck out 97 batters and walked just 21 hitters in 97.1 IP.
Musgrove must continue to do a great job limiting quality contact off his fastball. Hopefully he can still generate plenty of swings and misses in 2024.