The San Diego Padres put the league on notice last season. They finished with the best winning percentage in team history (37-23, .617) and made the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Ready to battle the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West crown for the next few years, what can they do to take the next step?
Finishing with the second-best record in the National League was certainly a step in the right direction. The main pieces are there to build around. The moves San Diego just made will have an immediate impact. They have an excellent infield which is better now with the signing of Ha-Seong Kim. Their solid starting pitching just got even better after trading for Blake Snell. This is a team that really doesn’t need much at this point.
Keys to the Offseason
Replace Kirby Yates
They did it last year after Yates struggled and then was gone for the year after surgery. Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan, and Cal Quantrill stepped in and got saves for the Padres. Trevor Rosenthal also picked up four of them but he is a free agent as well. San Diego doesn’t need a closer per se but would be wise to grab a pitcher or two who have late-inning experience.
Brad Hand, 30, RP
Hand was a part-time starter before he got to San Diego in 2016. In two and a half years with the Padres he pitched to a 2.66 ERA and saved 46 games while striking out 32.5 percent of the batters he faced. A reunion is not out of the question and one has to wonder if the left-handed closer wouldn’t take a slight discount to head back to the place where he turned his career around. Hand may sign with the Padres for around three years at $7-$10 million a year.
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