With Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and many other considerable talents remaining on both the free-agent and trade markets during another interminably tepid offseason, something has to give; or rather someone.
The San Diego Padres have entered the fray, granting respite from the back-and-forth speculation about which of the Philadelphia Phillies or Chicago White Sox would strike first and sign one of the top free agents. After expressing interest in Machado, the Padres met with Harper on Thursday and appear interested in at least kicking the tires on a possible deal.
Past that, they’re a player in the J.T. Realmuto trade bonanza and are eyeing veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez. While interest in acquiring Corey Kluber from Cleveland has been muddied by the team’s reported intention to flip him were a deal to materialize, the Padres have their fingers in a lot of pies. And they should. Let’s take a look at five key reasons why San Diego is the perfect fit for each and all of the names they’ve been connected to.
How the West was won
First and foremost, the National League West is in a state of transition. The Arizona Diamondbacks are essentially rebuilding after trading franchise staple Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis while watching outfielder A.J. Pollock and southpaw Patrick Corbin leave via free agency. The San Francisco Giants have no identity other than “old,” and aren’t expected to be super competitive right away – especially if they eventually trade ace Madison Bumgarner.
That leaves the Rockies and reigning division champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Colorado was the surprise of the league when it eked into the postseason in 2018 on the back of a young and impressive starting rotation. Its top addition this offseason has been veteran infielder Daniel Murphy. Top prospect Brendan Rodgers will presumably make the jump at some point in 2019, and the club will also have a full season of the speedy and versatile Garrett Hampson.