We have a little over 24 hours until Major League Baseball is expected to enter a lockout and the San Diego Padres are making moves. After entering discussions with relievers Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez earlier today, AJ Preller is continuing to make noise. This time it involves adding to San Diego’s catching group by acquiring Jorge Alfaro from the Miami Marlins for a player to be named later or cash.
Padres are acquiring Jorge Alfaro from the Marlins in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named, per source. @CraigMish was on it.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) December 1, 2021
To say this was surprising is an understatement. I understand the Padres catching position doesn’t have much power—and Alfaro has some power—but there seemed to be enough depth at the position going into next season already.
Austin Nola is the starting catcher and it was only a year ago that he was Seattle’s best hitter before being traded to the Padres. Nola couldn’t stay healthy in 2021, so the Padres might’ve wanted to bring in another guy in case those injury woes continue. But even past Nola, Victor Caratini played pretty well considering the circumstances when Nola couldn’t suit up. He caught Joe Musgrove’s no-hitter and was able to stay healthy all year.
After Caratini, the Padres have one of their top prospects, Luis Campusano, waiting in Triple-A. Granted he wasn’t ready last year when they tried bringing him up at the beginning of the season, but he’s refined his approach at the plate and does have power. What does this Alfaro move tell you about their confidence in Campusano? If the Padres thought Campusano would contribute in 2022, then they wouldn’t feel the need to give up cash or a player to be named later for another catcher, who has just two years of control (including 2022). Perhaps that player to be named later could’ve impacted the team in the future.
Getting to Alfaro, he had a negative WAR last season in less than 100 games, hitting just .244 with four homers, which was three less than Caratini. It’s not like Alfaro stayed healthy last season either. Like Nola, he dealt with injuries multiple times, including a left hamstring strain in April and a left calf strain in September. And like Nola, there isn’t a guarantee he’ll stay healthy either. The Padres must be banking that he will play like he played back in 2019 where he hit 18 homers and played in 80% of Miami’s games that season.
It will be interesting to see if there’s a corresponding move to be made by the Padres with the catching position. If there isn’t, then they might be banking on the universal DH coming into effect in 2022. Then, one of the catchers could take that position.
More news from the Padres
The Padres are hiring Francisco Cervelli to be their new catching coach. The former Pirates catcher will be replacing Rod Barajas on Bob Melvin’s staff. Cervelli has said he wants to manage one day so this could be the first step in him doing so.
The Padres hired Francisco Cervelli to replace Rod Barajas as the team’s catching instructor, sources tell @TheAthletic. Cervelli, 35, retired from playing last year after 13 major-league seasons, including two in Pittsburgh with Joe Musgrove.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) November 30, 2021
Today was the deadline for contracts to be tendered and the Padres didn’t tender contracts to a few players.
The #Padres made the following roster moves:— San Diego Padres (@Padres) December 1, 2021
-Acquired C Jorge Alfaro from the Miami Marlins for a PTBNL or cash
-Agreed to 1-year contracts with LHP Tim Hill and RHP's Austin Adams & Emilio Pagán
-Non-tendered RHP Trey Wingenter and LHP's Jose Castillo and Matt Strahm
In addition to Hill, Adams, and Pagan getting contracts, there were a few others who came to an agreement as well: