Padres Offseason Moves Making a Splash – Yu Darvish to Slam Diego. The Trade: Chicago Cubs trade RHP Yu Darvish and C Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres for RHP Zach Davies, SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena, SS Yeison Santana
What does this mean for the Padres?
Well, folks, AJ Preller wins the offseason, right? In 24 hours Preller acquired Blake Snell who has won a Cy Young, KBO star Ha-Seong Kim who slashed .306 with 30 home runs, 109 RBIs, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases this past season with Kiwoom, and traded for Yu Darvish who was second in the Cy Young voting this year. I’ll also add they didn’t give up a top 10 prospect for Darvish.
This gives them a ridiculous rotation, possibly the best in baseball. Did they surpass the Dodgers? That is what everyone is asking right? I think they might have, but they have to prove it to me. They showed last season that they are here to compete and they are fiery, but they haven’t won anything yet. This gives them a legitimate chance at winning the NL West over a full season.
They have everything you want in a title contender. A deep rotation, a decent bullpen with the flexibility to add from in-house or just use the in-house pieces in your bullpen, a lengthy lineup (could add a left-handed bat), and the most important part is they have a bunch of veterans. Slam Diego is going to be really really fun to watch this year if we get a full season, hopefully. And Preller isn’t done making moves.
Padres Offseason Moves – The Pitching Staff
- RHP Yu Darvish
- LHP Blake Snell
- RHP Dinelson Lamet
- RHP Mike Clevinger
- RHP Chris Paddack
- CL LHP Drew Pomeranz
- SU8th RHP Emilio Pagan
- SU7th RHP Pierce Johnson
- MR LHP Matt Strahm
- MR RHP Austin Adams
- MR LHP Tim Hill
- MR RHP Craig Stammen
- LR LHP Adrian Morejon
That rotation is laugh-out-loud good. If your number four starter is Mike Clevinger, you’re in a good spot. The first four guys speak for themselves. I don’t need to dive into Darvish, Snell, Lamet, or Clevinger.
Chris Paddack is a guy who can be really good if he can throw more than two pitches. He is predominantly a fastball – changeup guy, but that isn’t going to be very successful in the big leagues. Last year his pitch mix was 58% fastball, 31% changeup, 7.4% curveball and 3.5% cutter. If I am Paddack, I’m getting in the pitch lab and finding a curveball.
Finding a 3rd Pitch
I think his curveball will play up with how good his changeup is. He needs to find a third pitch because he won’t last as a starter without some kind of curveball or slider. To give even better perspective, he only threw 71 curveballs all year and only 12 times did they result in a plate appearance. Anyway, I think he can be good, but he has to add to his pitch mix.
The bullpen isn’t great, but Pomeranz has revived his career and has become a monster with strikeouts. Emilio Pagan had a down year last year but has shown he can close ball games. Pierce Johnson is a former Cubs prospect who went over to Japan and dominated. He came back over to the big leagues and revitalized his career.
Beyond that Strahm is a good piece as well, but they have so many in-house pitchers that they don’t have room for. They could very easily make more trades to add to the bullpen and still have a loaded farm system.
Padres Offseason Moves – The Lineup
- CF Trent Grisham
- SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
- 3B Manny Machado
- 1B Eric Hosmer
- LF Tommy Pham/ or Jake Cronenworth
- RF Wil Myers
- 2B Ha-Seong Kim/ or Jake Cronenworth
- C Austin Nola/ or Victor Caratini
- C/1B Victor Caratini
- INF/OF Jake Cronenworth
- OF Greg Allen
- OF/INF Jorge Mateo
- OF/1B Brian O’Grady
That lineup is long. If Eric Hosmer can be a semblance of what he was last year and Wil Myers does what Wil Myers does, that is long.
Trent Grisham was really good as a rookie last year and I would expect another jump from him this year because of his ability to take walks mixed with the power potential.
Tatis Jr. and Machado are stars, we don’t need to dive into those two.
Hosmer was good last year because he started to hit more balls in the air. He has a wild ground ball rate for his career 54.3%. If he can build off of last year’s 46.2% and lower it, even more, you will see him hit more doubles and home runs. Tommy Pham was bad last year. There really isn’t another way to say it. He was putting the ball on the ground at 62.2% and was selling out to pull the baseball.
He is another who, for his career, hits a lot of ground balls, but 62.2% is really high. I know it is a small sample size but that is 11% over his career average. I’d look for him to platoon with Jake Cronenworth who is going to play a Ben Zobrist type role for the Friars this season.
Wil Myers is a really frustrating player because of how good he can be. He is a 20/20 threat that sometimes just falls into ruts where he swings at everything. Last season he didn’t sell out for pull side power. He used all fields and he was really really good. If he can continue that, he can be dangerous again this season.
Kim a Wild Card
Ha-Seong Kim is a wild card because he had a lot of success in the KBO but that doesn’t always translate to the big leagues. He mainly played shortstop in the KBO but he will play second for the Padres and he comes with some big power. That could lead to strikeouts, but who really knows because the competition is very different.
Austin Nola and Victor Caratini will share the catching duties and I have long said that Caratini can start in the big leagues, but he will likely be a platoon option for the Padres and catch Darvish when he pitches. Nola had a lot of success in that super-utility role with the Mariners so we may see Caratini catch more so Nola can move around the diamond.
They have a fun bench with two guys who can really run in Greg Allen and former top prospect Jorge Mateo. They haven’t shown much with the bat but they can add some speed and defense to the bench. As I mentioned Caratini and Cronenworth will see more playing time with Caratini splitting time with Nola and Cronenworths ability to play anywhere on the field.
Brian O’Grady is a guy who only has 53 MLB at-bats and they signed him to a one-year major league deal. He can play first base and the outfield so he adds some more flexibility to the bench. He puts the ball in the air a lot, so I wonder if they signed him to add some left-handed pop off the bench and to take advantage of the short porch in right field. He takes his walks and strikes out a bit as well but he is an interesting sign.
Padres Offseason Moves – Darvish Impact
Essentially this was a roundabout way to tell you that Darvish makes this team a legit title contender on top of what they already have. He is coming off of his best season with a second-place Cy Young finish. He is going to be 35 years old but after this past season being shorter than normal, he should be well-rested and ready for another big year. He makes this rotation longer and I’d expect him to get the ball on opening day.