The San Diego Padres currently have an outfield of Fernando Tatis Jr., Jose Azocar and Cal Mitchell so obviously some additions need to be made there after the trade of Juan Soto and Trent Grisham. The pitching staff also needs some more help but where could they get it in free agency? The answer to that question is that it won’t be from the top tier.
Who knows who A.J. Preller will end up signing but here’s who won’t be wearing the brown and gold:
I’ve seen some fans who think Bellinger would be a great fit. He’s a left-handed hitter that has pop and can play center field and first base. That’s great but he’s the best free agent outfielder on the market and with Scott Boras as his agent, he’s going to be wanting $200 million from a team.
That’s definitely not a financial fit for a Padres team that is trimming payroll and has many long-term contracts already on the books.
Snell had a tremendous year in 2023, taking home the NL Cy Young award after posting a 2.25 ERA, so you’d think the Padres should want him back. However, he wasn’t the most consistent pitcher in his Padres tenure and San Diego already made their bed with the signings of Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish to long-term contracts worth a combined $208 million.
There are teams out there looking for big time starting pitching after missing out on some of the big starters that were available, such as the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, so teams like them are way better bets to land Snell at the price tag of $180+ million.
There are plenty of fans that are fine with Hader not returning but even if you like him, he’s an even surer bet to not return over Snell. This is one of the best relievers in baseball that we’re talking about here so you can be sure he’ll be trying to beat Edwin Diaz’s $102 million contract that he signed with the New York Mets last offseason.
As noted above, San Diego’s lowering payroll so no big long-term deal should be expected by fans this offseason. Yuki Matsui was just signed to a five-year, $28 million contract so he, Robert Suarez and Enyel De Los Santos seem to be Mike Shildt’s back end of the bullpen.
There’s no room and/or money for Hader. Simple as that.
The Padres need starting pitching but they need healthy starting pitching and Kershaw isn’t going to be pitching at the beginning of the regular season (left shoulder surgery). Oh and maybe I should mention he’d a Dodger. Never say never but I’m confident in saying he’d never sign with the Padres.
Montgomery is one of the top remaining starters left on the market but he’s projected to get a deal similar to Patrick Corbin’s $140 million contract he signed with the Washington Nationals. As noted earlier, the Padres already gave their long-term deals out to a couple starters so the only controllable starting pitching coming in will likely be on team-friendly contracts via trade.