The start of the San Diego Padres 2023 season has not gone according to plan. Currently, they’re sitting at 37-40, trailing the National League West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks by 8.5 games and a Wild Card berth by 6.5 games. The Friars have struggled in one-run games, as their record is 5-15 thus far.
However, Padres general manager A.J. Preller will not be discourage by the disappointing start to make changes to the roster. Plenty of options are available for him, and player moves seem very likely to occur.
Here are one dream scenario, one savvy play and one to avoid altogether.
San Diego Padres were last season's MLB trade deadline winner
After acquiring Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals at last summer’s trade deadline, the Friars tasted a memorable postseason run last October. Team management was not going to sit back and rest on their laurels. Instead, they wanted to play in more meaningful games this season.
The Padres signed Xavier Bogearts to a nine-figure, long-term free-agent deal. At the start of spring training, they re-signed Yu Darvish and Manny Machado to contract extensions. All the moves showed the Friars are ready to compete for a World Series title. But the roster has not lived up to the hype.
Preller is a man that rarely admits to mistakes. He gutted the farm system to field this roster, but that will not stop him from making one last tweak before the trade deadline.
Dream scenario: Acquiring a full-time designated hitter
The Friars need a designated hitter who can hit the ball consistently from the bottom half of the lineup. Nelson Cruz and Matt Carpenter are hitting a combined .218 with 9 home runs and 46 RBI in 256 at-bats. The lack of production, especially with runners in scoring position, has made seeking an upgrade a priority before the August 1 deadline. The Padres have the assets to make such a move.
San Diego might be a great landing spot for Cincinnati's Nick Senzel or Colorado's Randal Grichuk. Each player’s bat can jump-start the Padres offense. With each franchise going through a youth movement, both players would love to take their talents to a team that has expectations of playing in October.
Senzel was considered one of the top prospects in baseball after getting drafted second overall in the 2016 MLB Amateur draft. But his production has been inconsistent in the majors. This season, Senzel is hitting .244 with 5 home runs and 28 RBI in 197 plate appearances. It might be time for him to move on to a new organization.
Grichuk started the 2023 season on the injured list (hernia surgery), but his bat has been sizzling since his debut in late April. Grichuk is batting .294/.364/.443 with a pair of homers and 16 RBI in 176 plate appearances. Plus, he can play all three outfield positions.
Swapping for either player might be a real possibility.