The task this offseason feels less daunting. With most of the roster set to return, there are fewer holes to fill.
"I don't think there are any glaring holes that we see," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. “The biggest part of the last few years -- and really the last few months -- was about building something that we felt was sustainable. ... We go into [the offseason] with a team, there's not one specific area that we need to address."
Still, some areas on the San Diego roster are weaker than others.
The Padres had two closers hit the open market this winter in Kirby Yates (who signed with the Blue Jays) and Trevor Rosenthal. Preller has already noted that upgrading his bullpen will be a top priority. Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagán and Matt Strahm figure to be anchors. But the Padres expect to add two or three more relief weapons to that group. A healthy José Castillo would be an option. So would Adrian Morejon, if he's not in the rotation. But even if both Castillo and Morejon are available in the 'pen, the Padres would still be well served to look externally for a couple of relievers -- including a closer.
Starting pitching depth
The Padres were searching for rotation help even before Mike Clevinger was lost for the 2021 season because of Tommy John surgery. They found it in a big way in late December. San Diego traded a handful of prospects for Blake Snell and a handful more for Yu Darvish -- setting up Darvish, Snell and Dinelson Lamet as a trio of aces. Davies went to the Cubs in the Darvish deal, but the Padres added another veteran, right-hander Joe Musgrove, in a three-team trade in January to join Chris Paddack in providing rotation depth. A trio of young left-handers -- Morejon, Ryan Weathers and top prospect MacKenzie Gore -- are in the mix should the Padres need another starter, perhaps some insurance in case Lamet's elbow barks again.
The Padres had one of the best offenses in baseball in 2020, and they'll return starters at all eight defensive positions. But Jurickson Profar, Mitch Moreland, Greg Garcia and Jason Castro all became free agents this winter, leaving the Padres with little in the way of proven bench pieces at the outset of the offseason. San Diego's depth got a huge boost on New Year's Eve when highly regarded infielder Ha-Seong Kim signed a four-year, $28 million contract. There’s no clear starting role for Kim, but the Padres expect him to be a versatile regular. Profar will have a similar role after he agreed in January to return to San Diego on a three-year, $21 million deal, according to sources. The Padres also added catcher Victor Caratini and outfielder Brian O'Grady.
Jan. 22: Agreed to a three-year contract with utility player Jurickson Profar, who became a free agent after his first season with the Padres.
Jan. 19: Acquired right-handed starting pitcher Joe Musgrove from Pittsburgh in a three-team, seven-player trade. Lefty Joey Lucchesi went to the Mets as part of the deal. The Padres sent RHP David Bednar and three prospects -- CF Hudson Head, LHP Omar Cruz and RHP Drake Fellows -- to the Pirates, who also received C Endy Rodriguez from the Mets.
Jan. 6: Traded outfielder Greg Allen to the Yankees for Minor League left-hander James Reeves.
Dec. 31: Signed versatile infielder Ha-Seong Kim to a four-year contract with a mutual option for a fifth year. Greg Allen was designated for assignment to clear space on 40-man roster.
Dec. 29: Padres trade for RHP Yu Darvish and C Victor Caratini, sending RHP Zach Davies, SS prospect Reginald Preciado, OF prospect Owen Caissie, OF prospect Ismael Mena, SS prospect Yeison Santana to the Chicago Cubs.
Dec. 29: Padres trade for LHP Blake Snell, sending C Francisco Mejía, RHP prospect Luis Patiño, RHP prospect Cole Wilcox and C prospect Blake Hunt to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Dec. 8: Padres sign outfielder Brian O’Grady to a Major League contract. O’Grady, who spent time with the Rays and Reds, is expected to be a bench piece.
Dec. 2: Utility infielder Greg Garcia is non-tendered, making him a free agent. Meanwhile, Tommy Pham and the team’s other arbitration-eligible players are all either tendered contracts or in agreement to deals for 2021, keeping them in San Diego.
Nov. 20: Tucupita Marcano, Reggie Lawson and Mason Thompson are added to the Padres’ 40-man roster. Luis Perdomo, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October, is designated for assignment.
Nov. 16: Clevinger agrees to a two-year, $11.5 million extension, buying out his remaining arbitration years.
Nov. 1: Padres decline a one-year, $3 million option for first baseman Mitch Moreland.