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2023 Padres Season Review: Matt Carpenter and Garrett Cooper

Looking back on Carpenter and Cooper’s 2023 seasons

San Diego Padres v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

2023 Regular Season Statistics

Matt Carpenter: -0.3 fWAR, 76 G, .176 AVG, .322 OBP, .319 SLG, 86 wRC+, 18 R, 31 RBI, 5 HR

Garrett Cooper: 0.3 fWAR, 123 G, .251 AVG, .304 OBP, .419 SLG, 96 wRC+, 42 R, 61 RBI, 17 HR

Positives From This Season

Carpenter actually was one of the team leaders in RBI through the first month of the season (16 RBI) but his production fell off in May and then it never got back to what it was in April.

What I will commend the former Cardinal for is he always came to work acting as if he was going to play in that day’s game. He never stopped being a good teammate and that should be praised.

“As a player on this team regardless of what happens to me personally with playing time, I still have a responsibility to come to work and be a good teammate and cheer on our guys that are in the game and be there if they have a question about an approach. Nothing has changed in that regard,” Carpenter told Kevin Acee in August when it was a possibility he could be taken off the roster.

“If they were to get rid of me tomorrow, would I be disappointed that this season has played out the way that it has? Of course I would. But would I completely understand that they have to, and it’s what is best? Of course. Would I take that personally? Of course not...I truly have the best interest of the Padres (in mind). And if the best interest is for me to be here in this role, I accept it. If the best interest for the team is to do something else, that’s what I want them to do.”

Unfortunately him being a good teammate doesn’t take away from how much of a liability he was.

Cooper came over to San Diego at the deadline and stayed healthy enough to stay in the lineup almost every day. He had some good moments, hitting four home runs and driving in 15 in about two months with the team. He’s now a free agent but San Diego may try to bring him back on a one or two-year deal if they can’t bring in a better true first baseman.

Negatives From This Season

Carpenter’s numbers tell the story. I’m not going to sit here and rip him. The Padres thought he found something in New York with the Yankees and were hoping he’d be able to produce similarly in San Diego as a platoon with veteran DH Nelson Cruz. $13 million was spent on them and neither worked out.

The 37-year-old has a player option worth $5.5 million for 2024 so of course any human would take that when they were a .176 hitter and went weeks without playing the previous year. The Padres will likely try to attach him to a talented player in a trade so they can save some money and bring in another player who’s younger and has more versatility.

The negative about Cooper is that he’s a free agent, as noted earlier. He was one of three players AJ Preller acquired that were rentals. Rich Hill and Ji Man Choi were the other two and it doesn’t seem likely that the Padres are going to be running towards their agents to bring them back so Cooper has the best shot to return among the three rentals.