The Padres have a new manager. Now, what is Bob Melvin going to have to work with?
Needless to say, general manager A.J. Preller has a lot to do.
San Diego’s roster is an interesting mix or guys who aren’t going anywhere for a long time, guys with big contracts who should be sent out of town, low-priced stars, and talented but injury-prone guys it’s hard to rely on.
So, now that the World Series is over, let’s take a look at what the Friars roster looks like now and how different it could be by the time Spring Training rolls around. We’ve organized them into four categories:
- Under Control (either under contract or not yet eligible for arbitration)
- Contract Options
- Free Agents
As of this writing the Padres have a full 40-man roster, but as we’ll see in a bit that’s going to have to change in a couple of weeks. First off, the players under contractual control.
IF Manny Machado
IF Fernando Tatis Jr.
IF Ha-Seong Kim
IF Jurickson Profar (exercised player option)
IF Eric Hosmer
OF Wil Myers
IF Jake Cronenworth (pre-arb)
C Austin Nola (pre-arb)
OF Trent Grisham (pre-arb)
RHP Yu Darvish
LHP Blake Snell
RHP Mike Clevinger
LHP Ryan Weathers (pre-arb)
RHP Javier Guerra (pre-arb)
RHP Nabil Crismatt (pre-arb)
RHP Reiss Knehr (pre-arb)
RHP Pedro Avila (pre-arb)
LHP Nick Ramirez (pre-arb)
LHP Drew Pomeranz*
RHP Michel Baez (pre-arb)*
OF Jorge Ona (pre-arb)*
LHP Adrian Morejon (pre-arb)*
(*= recovering from injury, status uncertain)
I’m limiting this list to players most likely to be able to compete for a spot on the 2022 roster so the Shaun Andersons and John Andreolis of the world have been left off. They could very well end up in the Padres system as minor league depth.
It’s astonishing to me that Cronenworth and Nola are both still a year away from arbitration so they’ll make the league minimum in 2022. Jake is a definite long-term contract extension candidate. Austin will be, as well, if he can prove he can stay healthy for a full season.
The elephant in the room is a couple of contracts the Padres would LOVE to part ways with … and you know who they are … but we’ll address that after going through the rest of the list.
IF Adam Frazier
C Victor Caratini
RHP Joe Musgrove
RHP Chris Paddack
RHP Emilio Pagan
LHP Tim Hill
RHP Austin Adams
RHP Dinelson Lamet*
LHP Matt Strahm*
RHP Dan Altavilla*
RHP Trey Wingenter*
LHP Jose Castillo*
This is an interesting group. Musgrove is probably going to get between $8 million and $9 million in arbitration but he’s a workhorse in his prime who was the most reliable starter on the roster last year. The Grossmont High School alum has made it no secret he loves pitching for his home-town team so if there’s a candidate on this list to get a long-term deal, he’s the guy.
Frazier, Caratini, Paddack, Hill, and Wingenter are expected to be easy decisions to re-sign to affordable new deals. The rest of the list might end up being non-tendered (meaning the club does not offer a contract, making them free agents).
Pagan struggled down the stretch in 2021 but has probably shown enough to stick around another year. If healthy, Castillo is another effective bullpen piece. Adams lack of control makes him difficult to bring back. Strahm and Altavilla have both battled injuries and might be non-tendered. That brings us to Lamet.
The stuff is unreal. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Lamet is scheduled for a raise to about $5 million or so but the Padres honestly aren’t sure what his role could be based on his arm status. If he’s available he’s a definite closer candidate, but that’s a very large IF. I would not be surprised to see him non-tendered and hit free agency, as well.
Keep in mind, there’s nothing saying the Padres can’t non-tender a player then sign him back as a free agent.
OF Jake Marisnick (mutual)
RHP Craig Stammen (club)
RHP Pierce Johnson (club)
RHP Keone Kela (club)
RHP Mark Melancon (mutual)
Marisnick is probably going to hit free agency and Stammen and Johnson seem like no-brainers for the Friars to retain at a total of $7 million. Kela is interesting because he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery and his option is just $800,000. San Diego might take a chance he’s back at full strength at that low number.
Melancon’s option is $5 million but he drastically out-performed that number so he’s almost certainly going to decline and hit the open market.
OF Tommy Pham
C Webster Rivas
IF Ivan Castillo
OF Brian O’Grady
RHP Daniel Hudson
LHP Ross Detwiler
RHP Vincent Velasquez
LHP Daniel Camarena
RHP Miguel Diaz
Pham is the biggest name on the list but his two years in San Diego have been disastrous so it might simply be time to move on. Of the rest of the guys on this list the most likely one to return is Diaz … although pretty much all of San Diego would LOVE to see Camarena return after the Cathedral Catholic High alum delivered arguably the best moment of the entire 2021 season with a grand slam off Max Scherzer (and he’s a relief pitcher!).
There is one more thing to consider. Before the Rule 5 draft in December the Padres have a few prospects that need protecting but one of them takes precedence.
Rule 5 Draft Protection
LHP MacKenzie Gore
There must be a roster move in the next few weeks to add Gore to the 40-man roster or he’ll be scooped up in a heartbeat by another club.
Now, that elephant we discussed. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are both under contract but aren’t performing up their salaries. Getting rid of their contracts will free up nearly $44 million in 2022 and pull the Friars away from the luxury tax threshold, allowing them to dip into one of the better free agent markets we’ve seen in recent years.
Myers has been the subject of trade talks for years and admitted after the season that, with just one more year left on his deal $22.5 million, he’s as tradeable as he’s ever going to be.
Preller tried to move Hosmer’s bloated deal at the trade deadline and will absolutely attempt to rid the club of it this off-season. Hosmer is due $21 million in 2022, then $13 million annually for the three years after that. He does have the ability to opt out after this season but with his performance it’s unlikely even an agent as good as Scott Boras will get him anything close to three years and $39 million because he’s not very good at playing baseball anymore.
So, getting another team to take on that contract for basically a league-average player is problematic unless the Padres agree to pay a large chunk of the salary or attach a coveted prospect to the deal. If Preller can find a way to move them both they can probably extend Musgrove and add a couple of new guys in free agency.
When it’s all said and done, there are five to 10 spots that could be filled by new players in San Diego in 2022. You know, just how Preller likes it.
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