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Padres 2016 Season Preview: Reviewing offseason free agent transactions

Looking at the Padres' free-agent losses and additions from the 2015-2016 offseason.

San Diego Padres Photo Day Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres' 2015-2016 offseason was vastly different from the year prior. A.J. Preller made a name for himself two Winters ago in his first offseason as Padres GM, but this time around he kept relatively quiet. While fans and media watched, insisting the team was in rebuilding mode once again, the Padres front office refused to admit it, claiming this year would be a "significant" improvement over the last.

San Diego finished a disappointing 74-88 in 2015, good for fourth place in the NL West. Preller's big-name acquisitions didn't help the team live up to the elevated expectations that were placed on them going into the season. The pitching staff massively underperformed and the Padres defense was so bad, one of the most optimistic arguments going into 2016 is that there's no way it can be worse this year.

But will Preller's offseason activity in fact prove to make the team better than last year's blockbuster-filled Winter? Consensus seems to be iffy on this, but maybe it's because we're all trying to be more cautious about our expectations after the 2015 season. For now, let's review some of those transactions get a look at what the team is looking like going into 2016.

FREE AGENTS

Two big losses for the Padres after the 2015 season were Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton, both of whom elected for free agency and rejected qualifying offers from the team, and both of whom benefited greatly from their decisions. Kennedy was picked up by the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals on a five-year $70 million deal. Upton, who was San Diego's All-Star in 2015, also got himself a five-year contract, but this one worth $132.75 million from the Detroit Tigers. The Padres did, however, get two compensatory picks out of these deals, so there's that.

The Friars also cut ties with Josh Johnson who, after initially signing with the team in November of 2013, missed all of 2014 after undergoing his second career Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2015 as well, with injuries to his neck and tricep, and later the announcement of his third Tommy John surgery in September ensured he would be missing all of 2016 too. The once highly-touted pitcher never got a chance to throw for the Padres except for a couple of simulated games, both of which resulted in injury announcements and more missed time.

Another significant loss was that of Cory Luebke, who also had an addled time in his career with the Padres. Like Johnson, Luebke's once-promising career was interrupted by not one, but two Tommy John surgeries. The young southpaw was drafted by the Padres in 2007 and made his Major League debut in 2010. He spent time in both starting and relieving roles for the Padres before his injuries came into play and sidelined him for three seasons. He was picked up by the Pirates this past offseason.

Clint Barmes, Will Middlebrooks, and Bud Norris will also not be returning in 2016 after spending just one season (or a couple of months in Norris's case) with the Padres.

But enough about the losses. The Padres also picked up some notable free agents this Winter and we've already seen them in action this Spring. They've added some pitching/bullpen depth with the additions of Carlos Villanueva, Fernando Rodney, Cesar Vargas, and Buddy Baumann. And probably one of the most (if not the most) important acquisitions of the offseason was that of shortstop Alexei Ramirez. A "real" Major League shortstop was at the top of every Padres fan's wish list and Preller delivered by bringing in Ramirez, formerly of the White Sox, on a one-year deal.

Unfortunately for some, that meant having to make room on the Padres' 40-man roster, and that meant ultimately cutting ties with Rymer Liriano. On January 22nd, with Ramirez officially added to the roster, the out-of-options Liriano was designated for assignment and later traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for left-handed Minor League pitcher Trevor Seidenberger.

Every free-agent signing by the Padres this offseason

Date Move
NOVEMBER
11/08/2015 Signed Erik Kratz (C) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
11/11/2015 Signed Ramon Benjamin (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
11/12/2015 Signed Juan Arias (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
11/16/2015 Signed Aaron Lezama (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
Signed Martires Arias (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
11/17/2015 Signed Johnny Hellweg (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
11/18/2015 Signed Daniel McCutchen (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
11/20/2015 Signed Luis Diaz (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
Signed Cesar Vargas (RHP) from free agency.
11/23/2015 Signed Nick Evans (1B) from free agency to minor league contract.
11/25/2015 Signed Ryan Schrimpf (3B) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
11/28/2015 Signed Philip Humber (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
JANUARY
12/06/2015 Re-signed Frank Garces (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
12/08/2015 Signed Ryan Buchter (LHP)  from free agency to minor league contract.
Re-signed Rocky Gale (C) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/14/2015 Re-signed Brandon Morrow (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
Signed Adam Lopez (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/15/2015 Signed Fabio Castillo (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/16/2015 Signed Carlos Pimentel (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
12/19/2015 Signed Jose Dominguez (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with nvite to Spring Training.
12/21/2015 Signed Buddy Baumann (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/28/2015 Signed D'Arby Myers (LF) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/29/2015 Signed Miguel Del Castillo (C) from free agency to minor league contract.
12/31/2015 Signed Derek Eitel (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
JANUARY
01/01/2016 Signed Adam Rosales (1B) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
01/14/2016 Signed Carlos Villanueva (RHP) from free agency.
Signed Jemile Weeks (2B) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
01/22/2016 Signed Alexei Ramirez (SS) from free agency.
01/25/2016 Signed Hunter Redman (C)  from free agency to minor league contract.
01/31/2016 Signed Seth Rosin (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
FEBRUARY
02/02/2016 Signed Trey McNutt (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/04/2016 Signed Fernando Rodney (RHP) from free agency.
02/08/2016 Signed Nick Noonan (2B) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
02/09/2016 Signed Skip Schumaker (LF) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
Signed Scott Snodgress (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/11/2016 Signed Greg Reynolds (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/12/2016 Signed Daurius Valdez (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/15/2016 Signed Elier Sanchez (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/16/2016 Signed Evan Powell (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/19/2016 Signed Daniel Moskos (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/20/2016 Signed Casey Janssen (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
02/21/2016 Signed Grant Zawadski (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/22/2016 Signed Jerry Sullivan (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/23/2016 Signed Michael Kirkman (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/28/2016 Signed Justin Sellers (SS) from free agency to minor league contract.
02/29/2016 Signed Anderson Polanco (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
MARCH
03/01/2016 Signed Janigson Villalobos (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
Signed Angel Acevedo (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
03/02/2016 Signed Juan Fernandez (P) from free agency to minor league contract.
Signed Edwuin Bencomo (RHP) from free agency to minor league contract.
Signed Josh Satin (1B) from free agency to minor league contract.
03/03/2016 Signed Matt Thornton (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
Signed Christian Friedrich (LHP) from free agency to minor league contract with invite to Spring Training.
03/17/2016 Signed Mike Olt (3B) from free agency to minor league contract.