After nine straight years of losing baseball, the San Diego Padres were 37-23 in 2020. Despite being swept in the playoffs, they looked like they would be contenders in the National League West for years to come. Unfortunately, that plan got a bit derailed in 2021. San Diego was 61-45 heading into July 30, seemingly locked into at least a Wild Card spot, then the wheels fell off. They went 18-38 the rest of the way and finished below .500 at 79-83. Manager Jayce Tingler lost control of his clubhouse and ultimately lost his job. Bob Melvin was chosen to replace him in 2022.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Offseason Previews.
The Padres don’t have a ton of money to spend this offseason, but they should have enough to bring in some bullpen help as well as sign a solid hitter. San Diego has a glut of infielders as Ha-Seong Kim and Adam Frazier were both added to the mix last year. The starting rotation is fairly set as well. Despite less than stellar performances from Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, especially down the stretch, they will be counted on in 2022 to return to top form. The Padres will also get Mike Clevinger back from Tommy John surgery.
Keys to the Offseason
Long-Term Outfield Help
While centerfield is set with Trent Grisham, the corners could use a little help. Wil Myers had a decent year at the plate but is not a very good defender. He also will likely be a free agent after this season as the Padres doubtfully pick up his $20 million option for 2023. Tommy Pham is a free agent and played 124 games in the outfield. While San Diego could plug in someone like Frazier or Jake Cronenworth at a corner spot, getting a regular outfielder would be wise.
Sign a Closer
Mark Melancon is hitting the market. He saved 39 games for the Padres last year with a 2.23 ERA. San Diego should be smart here as they do have a couple of youngsters to give some extra innings to. Dinelson Lamet is an option as well. Despite not pitching well out the pen in September, the hope is that he can return to his 2020 form. Health is what may keep him from rejoining the rotation.
Michael Conforto, 28, Outfielder
The former New York Mets right fielder did not have a very good season leading into his free agency. However, Conforto wasn’t horrible. He still had a .322 wOBA and 106 wRC+. It was an injury-filled season for Conforto, and he could be expected to return to the .366 wOBA and 133 wRC+ he put up from 2017-2020. The former Oregon State star will be 29 years old before opening day, and the Padres should consider offering something in the neighborhood of five years at $90 million.
Aaron Loup, 33, Relief Pitcher
Back in 2019, Loup only managed four appearances for the Padres. In 2020, he signed a minor-league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Since being called up that year, he has gone 9-2 with a 1.43 ERA in 89 appearances while allowing just four home runs in 81.2 innings for the Rays and Mets. He would make an excellent left-handed addition to pair with Stammen in the pen.
Mark Melancon, 36, Relief Pitcher
The veteran closer declined his side of a $5 million mutual option making him a free agent. Melancon led the NL with 39 saves and although he will be 37 before the season begins, it may be worth it for the Padres to give him a little bump in pay to see if he can anchor the bullpen one more time in 2022.
Check us out on our socials:
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk
Follow Johnnie Black on Twitter @jball0202
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images