The past fourteen months have brought a lot of change to San Diego. A year after failing to meet expectations, the Padres hired a new manager in Bob Melvin, and tweaked its core to attempt another run in the NL. The 2022 season was a fruitful one, as the Padres made the NLCS for the first time since 1998. Still, the Padres came up short in its quest to return to the World Series. San Diego will return a strong team for 2023, and the team’s front office beefed up the Padres lineup this winter.
- SS Xander Bogaerts
- INF/OF Matt Carpenter
- DH Nelson Cruz
- OF Adam Engel
- RHP Brent Honeywell Jr.
- RHP Seth Lugo
The highlight of San Diego’s offseason was the free agent signing of star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. It’s not hard to see why a Padres team that boasts an already-impressive infield wanted the ex-Red Sox infielder, as very few hitters in baseball match the hitting skills of Bogaerts — his 400 hits from 2020-22 rank as the 10th-most in all of MLB in that time. San Diego inked Bogaerts to a lengthy 11-year contract worth $280 million, a deal set to lock the 30-year-old in Southern California until his early 40s. Length, however, doesn’t matter all that much in the interim, when the goal is to ultimately bring the Padres its first World Series title.
San Diego also added two veteran hitters in Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz, as well as an arm for the rotation in Seth Lugo. Carpenter will look to continue his career renaissance with the Padres, while Cruz attempts to get back on track after a career-worst 2022 campaign with the Nationals.
As for Lugo, the former Mets reliever is set to head into the Padres rotation for 2023. Lugo — who we ranked as one of the best under-the-radar pickups of this winter — spent most of his time in New York in the bullpen. However, Lugo does possess three average or better offerings and did spend time in the Mets rotation in the early part of his career.
- C Jorge Alfaro
- 1B/DH Josh Bell
- RHP Mike Clevinger
- INF/OF Brandon Drury
- LHP Sean Manaea
- 1B/OF Wil Myers
- OF Jurickson Profar
San Diego made a number of trades in recent years to boost its lineup and rotation. Some of the Padres’ moves worked out, while others didn’t. Two of those acquired players, Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea, struggled with San Diego and will not return for next season. Nor will Josh Bell and Brandon Drury, both of whom were acquired at the Trade Deadline as rentals this past August.
INF/OF Jurickson Profar, meanwhile, is looking for a new home in the free agent market after a three-year tenure in San Diego. Profar hit .243/.331/.391 with 15 home runs last season, arguably his best full season since the once-highly-touted prospect became a full-time MLB player.
Long-time 1B/OF Wil Myers is headed to Cincinnati for 2023, after seven years with the Padres. The 32-year-old hit 58 home runs in his first two seasons in San Diego, before a dip in performance. Still, Myers managed to record OPS+ figures above league-average in all but one season with the Padres.
San Diego, much like many other teams, sustained losses this winter. However, the Padres bring back a very strong group that should be among the league’ best come 2023. A middle-of-the-lineup that is set to feature Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, and a returning Fernando Tatis Jr. is tough to match, but it’s unclear how long this group can stay together.
Machado can opt out of his contract after this season, while Soto is set to hit the market in the winter of 2024. On the pitching side, both ace Yu Darvish and closer Josh Hader also slated to enter free agency next winter. San Diego already possesses one of the league’s largest payrolls, so it’s unclear how the Padres will handle its pending free agents. In a sense, this is why the signing of Bogaerts make sense — try to make the most of the team’s current window now, and figure out a depleted farm system and future losses at a later date.