Winter Meetings are just around the corner, and the San Diego Padres will be one of the most interesting teams to watch. With the sad passing of chairman and owner Peter Seidler on Nov. 14 and the fact that the Padres have yet to name a successor, there's the question of who will have the final word on team spending. The team also hasn't chosen a replacement for former manager Bob Melvin, which — if they don't pick before early December — might not be an overwhelmingly positive thing for players they might be trying to attract. Even without the questions of money or management, though, the Padres also have one massive trade chip they might play and a lot of roster openings they still need filled. Here are the basics of the Padres' trip to the Winter Meetings.
What are the Winter Meetings?
The Winter Meetings are a four day conference held annually in December that brings together representatives from all 30 MLB teams. As the centerpiece of the offseason, owners, executives, agents, and so on come together to negotiate trades and get their rosters together in light of the approaching season. Last year, the Padres made last minute plays at Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, both of which failed, but they still managed to sign Xander Bogaerts at the meetings. It seems unlikely that they'll be similarly as active this year, but you never know with the Padres. Winter Meetings will be held from Dec. 3 - 6 in Nashville, TN.
What could the Padres do at Winter Meetings?
Given the revelation that the Padres had to take out a $50 million loan in order to settle multiple debts, including player payroll, during the 2023 season, it would be logical for them to step on the brakes with the blockbuster trades. Even so, San Diego's spending hasn't always been incredibly logical, and there are a lot of gaps that they'll need to fill ahead of the 2024 season, including the ones left by newly minted two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell and elite closer Josh Hader.
Then there's the issue of Juan Soto, and whether or not he'll be traded this offseason. Recent chatter has indicated the Padres might keep him for at least half of the next season, despite long-standing rumors that Soto will be traded to the east coast. Whether or not the team sends him off, his name will most certainly be thrown around during Winter Meetings.
A perhaps less pressing but still important issue is also who will be the Padres' everyday DH. At the moment, MLB.com's depth chart lists Matt Carpenter as San Diego's lone option at DH. Others have been shuffled through, but having Carpenter alone as the primary option doesn't seem like a safe place for the team to start the new season on; Carpenter is 37, and he hit .176 in only 188 at-bats this year.
Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 draft, made up of minor leaguers with 4-5 years of service time, takes place during the Winter Meetings. Only teams without a full 40-man roster participate; as of writing, the Padres have five open spots after moving No. 6 prospect Jairo Iriarte to the roster to protect him from the draft.
MLB Draft lottery
The second MLB Draft lottery, wherein the 18 non-playoff teams will draw to determine draft order in 2024, will also take place during Winter Meetings. The Padres have a 0.7% chance of drawing first position, but are more likely to pick toward the middle of the pack, up a considerable amount from last year.