The San Diego Padres didn’t live up to expectations whatsoever in 2021 but that was last season, so it’s time to look forward to some of the important days on the calendar where the front office can start making moves.
We’ve already seen some roster moves made by San Diego regarding player and club options but here are the most important dates remaining this winter:
November 8-11: General Managers Meetings
A.J. Preller won’t have to go far for the GM meetings, which begin today, as they are happening in Carlsbad, California. This is the true beginning of the offseason for all Major League Baseball clubs, as all of the general managers have the opportunity to talk face to face about possible transactions and negotiations.
November 15-18: 2021 Seasonal Awards
MLB Network annually unveils the Baseball Writers’ Association Awards in the middle of November and this year, the Padres have some dogs in the fight to win these awards despite the team’s play as a whole.
No Friar will win Rookie of the Year and definitely not Manager of the Year (maybe next year), which are unveiled November 15 and 16, respectively. However, Joe Musgrove has an outside shot of getting some votes in the NL Cy Young award balloting on November 17 before we wait anxiously to see if our guy, Fernando Tatis Jr., can take home the organization’s first MVP award since Ken Caminiti in 1996. Manny Machado should get some votes as well in the balloting.
November 17: Qualifying Offer Deadline
The Cy Young winners will be announced on the same day that teams will get a decision from players they offered qualifying offers to about whether or not they have accepted or declined it. The qualifying offer is essentially a one-year, $18.4 million deal offered to a free agent and the player can accept it or reject it, and thus head to free agency. If a player rejects a qualifying offer, then that team he rejected it from will get a compensation draft pick.
Tommy Pham is eligible for a qualifying offer but the Padres are not expected to offer one to him after another rough season.
November 19: Rule 5 Protection Deadline
The Padres usually have plenty of prospects they have to decide to protect or not protect from the Rule 5 Draft. However, Preller’s farm system isn’t as strong anymore after all of the trades he’s made over the last few years. This year, MacKenzie Gore is the only big prospect Preller must put on the 40-man roster. In case you’re wondering, Gore is making improvements with his mechanics in the minor leagues and Arizona Fall League.
December 1: Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Expires
This is where things could get sticky. With no agreement in place any longer between the league and players association, deals might not get done because there’s no agreement on how to execute them. The new CBA also will implement some new rules as well, such as a possible universal designated hitter, so teams will understandably want to wait to see what the structure of their team will look like before filling out their rosters.
December 2: Non-Tender Deadline
This deadline is regarding Padres players who are under team control but don’t currently have an active contract in place. Dinelson Lamet and Matt Strahm fall under this category and aren’t slam dunks to be tendered contracts because both can’t stay healthy. If both were healthy, they’d both be tendered contracts, as we saw what Lamet can do when he’s healthy in 2020 and Strahm is a valuable multi-innings guy out of the bullpen (or arm barn, if that’s what we are calling it now).
According to MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell, Lamet has two years of arbitration remaining while Strahm can hit free agency after 2022 if he is tendered a contract.
December 6-9: Winter Meetings
The first Winter Meetings since 2019, when it was in San Diego, happens in December. This year, it will be going down in Orlando, Florida. There should be a flurry of moves and activity that go on during these few days, as the free agent market is flooded with huge names. Preller sometimes is really active but sometimes isn’t so active during the Winter Meetings so it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches the meetings this winter. This year, I’d expect him to be pretty quiet in terms of moves because there isn’t going to be much roster turnover this winter.
Pitchers and Catchers Report: Week of February 14
A date hasn’t been announced yet for the Padres’ pitchers and catchers to report but this is the week that Spring Training will be getting underway in Peoria, Arizona. Who knows how many new faces will be in a Padres uniform come that time?