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Predicting the Padres free agents who will and won’t return in 2022

There are some names fans will be happy and unhappy to see go....

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres will obviously be making moves to improve the roster this season, as last year’s team simply wasn’t good enough. Jurickson Profar, Craig Stammen, and Pierce Johnson could’ve been free agents this year but they will be returning, as Profar exercised his player option and Stammen and Johnson were brought back on one-year deals by the Padres.

As for San Diego’s free agents, some have a chance of returning but most won’t. Let’s predict who’s coming back and who isn’t. The players named are based on Spotrac’s list, as of November 6.

Who’s returning?

Tommy Pham

Some fans didn’t like Pham but the Padres might benefit from Pham’s lack of interest from other teams. He mentioned earlier this season that he is open to returning on a one-year deal to rebuild his market so I predict the Padres will bring him back on a one-year agreement worth less than $10 million. The Padres are going to be looking for more power bats to put in their outfield but if they strike out or are unwilling to go long term on someone, then Pham is an alright backup option.

Sam McWilliams

Some might not agree with me but the Padres have a solid chance of bringing McWilliams back. I know that most fans don’t even know who this guy is but the Padres claimed him from the Mets this past June. He has some electric stuff and spent some time in Double-A and Triple-A this year, striking out 56 batters combined in the Mets and Padres farm systems. The walks are a problem though, as he walked 49 batters in 49 innings.

Perhaps McWilliams sees that the Padres believed in him this past June and wants to return.

Who’s gone?

Daniel Hudson

Hudson didn’t pitch well after being traded to the Padres before the deadline and I wouldn’t expect the front office being locked in on bringing him back when there are going to be a lot of guys coming back healthy in 2022. In hindsight, I’d want Mason Thompson back.

Mark Melancon

I, along with many fans, want to see Melancon come back but I don’t see him coming back because of how well he pitched in the brown and gold this season. He only made $3 million but pitched like the best closer in the league and made it to the All-Star Game in Denver.

He certainly was one of the bright spots in 2021 but he’s going to get more money, and likely a multi-year deal, from another team who is dying for a closer. Atlanta, for example, probably regrets not having him this year even though they won it all. The Padres have more important things to be worried about than a position that they’ve gotten good performances from in their franchise’s history, regardless of who comes in and holds that title.

Keone Kela

Kela was surprisingly not brought back for $800,000 so if the Padres weren’t bringing him back at that salary, then they aren’t going to bring him back in free agency. Kela was a bust for San Diego, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of the year—when things were looking good in the standings. We all know how that turned out.

Jake Marisnick

Marisnick didn’t fit on the team and there’s no way the Padres were going to give him $4 million under the club option for him to sit on the bench and not be a valued offensive player. They need more power, not guys hitting .188 with no home runs like Marisnick did in a Padres uniform.

Jairo Diaz

Diaz never made it to the big leagues with the Padres. He last pitched in the Majors with the Rockies in 2020, posting a 7.65 ERA.

Dan Altavilla

Dan Altavilla was another guy who couldn’t stay healthy with the Padres and he didn’t work out here. He came over in 2020 as part of the Austin Nola deal with Seattle. He isn’t returning unless he wants to go up and down from El Paso.

Nick Ramirez

Ramirez came up and down from El Paso and he elected free agency when San Diego’s season came to end, as he probably wants to play for a team where he has a real chance of pitching consistently at the big league level.

Ross Detwiler

Detwiler was signed by the Friars after injuries depleted the pitching staff in the second half of the season, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs. He was just someone they signed to get through the season. Nothing more.

Jake Arrieta

Oh boy, we can’t forget about Jake Arrieta. Fans on Twitter are going to tell you that the former Cy Young award winner came here and stole money from the Padres and well, I can’t really disagree with them. Arrieta got hurt not once, but twice before getting released by the team after he was seen golfing a day after he left a game early with a hamstring injury.

It wasn’t a good look and Padres fans are happy to say he can go golf elsewhere now.