San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based out of San Diego, CA. The Padres were founded in 1969 and they played their home games at Qualcomm Stadium from 1969 until 2003 before permanently moving to Petco Park prior to the 2004 campaign.
They compete in the National League Western Division. The Padres have won two National League Pennants and have made the postseason six times but have yet to win a World Series.
Following the Chargers’ move from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017, the Padres became the only professional team out of the big four North American sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) to have a franchise based in San Diego.
San Diego Padres Last Season Performance
The San Diego Padres had sky-high expectations entering the 2021 season.
They were fresh off of a season that saw them add all-star caliber pitchers such as Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in addition to locking up their star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a massive, multi-year contract. The team started off well and rivaled the Dodgers and Giants for the best team in the division throughout the first portion of the season.
San Diego featured an all-around good team that was led by clutch hitting late in games to open the year. But as the season rolled along the team began to break down.
The once star-studded and exciting pitching staff started to labor and they finished with a 4.10 ERA which ranked 14th in baseball. Joe Musgrove was the lone starting pitcher who fared well through the season. Musgrove finished the season with a 3.18 ERA and 203 strikeouts to go along with a no-hitter as well.
But Snell, Darvish, and Chris Paddack all finished with ERA’s well above four. In fact, Paddack’s final ERA was above five. San Diego’s main premise entering the year was building upon the strong starting pitching they had added to the rotation. But things didn’t pan out as well as they liked.
The offense also was rather subpar. They finished in the bottom half of the league in home runs and were about league average in batting average. Tatis Jr. led the way with 42 home runs and a .282/.364/.611 slash line. Manny Machado was also productive with 28 home runs and .278 batting average.
But this was an offense that was expected to be amongst the best in baseball but they ended up being fairly mediocre.
The Padres 2021 campaign can be summed up in two words; failed expectations.
But they still have plenty of talent and the future remains bright in San Diego.
San Diego Padres Off-Season Changes
The Padres had some work to do following the 2021 campaign. They had to decide which players were worth keeping and who was worth letting go. San Diego needed to decide if their rotation would bounce back or if they would need to make some changes.
Fortunately for the team, there were not a whole lot of players entering free agency. The core will remain intact so the Padres can run it back in 2022.
But San Diego’s changes mainly stemmed from the front office. Former Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was hired as the team’s new head coach. Melvin offers an impressive track record as a head coach and will look to take the team to the playoffs.
The Padres also brought in a whole new coaching staff around Melvin. Ryan Christenson will be the new bench coach, Ruben Niebla will be the pitching coach, Michael Brdar will be the hitting coach, Matt Williams will be the third base coach, David Macias will be the first base coach, and Francisco Cervelli will be the catching coach.
Sometimes, the behind-the-scenes transactions can make a large difference for a team. Sure, these coaching changes are not the same as bringing in high-profile free agents who can enhance the team’s on-field performance. But this coaching shake-up allows the Padres to hit the refresh button and start over in 2022, and that is exactly what they needed following their disappointing end of 2021.
San Diego Padres Key Additions
San Diego has been quiet for the most part on the free-agent front this offseason. But they did make some under-the-radar moves which could pay dividends this season.
Their offseason began with Jurickson Profar exercising his player option. Although Profar is not a guy who is going to the world on fire, he is a capable offensive player who also offers valuable defensive versatility.
The Padres then exercised their team option on relief pitcher Craig Stammen. Stammen posted a 3.06 ERA in his fifth season with the Padres in 2021 and the veteran right-hander is an important asset for the bullpen.
One low risk, high reward signing the team made came in the form of outfielder Nomar Mazara.
Mazara was a model of consistency in Texas from 2016-2019. He smacked 20 home runs from 2016-2018 in each season and then hit 19 during the 2019 campaign. He also hit between .250 and .270 during that four-year span.
But he labored over the past two seasons between Chicago and Detroit, but Mazara is a player who has shown he can be a reliable option at the big league level. San Diego may have received a bargain considering the Padres signed him to a minor league contract.
San Diego then re-signed players such as Emilio Pagan, Austin Adams, and Tim Hill. All three of them are quality relief options that add depth to the San Diego bullpen.
San Diego Padres Key Subtractions
For the most part, the Padres roster will look similar in 2022. But one major difference stems from the back of the bullpen.
Closer Mark Melancon earned an all-star nod for his strong effort during the 2021 campaign. The veteran reliever pitched to the tune of a 2.23 ERA to go along with a league-leading 39 saves. But a mutual option was declined and Melancon ultimately signed with the Diamondbacks.
He was a vital member of the team last season and his services late in games will be missed.
Outfielder Tommy Pham is currently a free agent. Pham spent the past two seasons in San Diego before hitting the open market this offseason. He hit 15 home runs and stole 14 bases to go along with 74 runs scored last season.
San Diego has outfield depth, but that does not mean that they will not consider re-signing Pham once the lockout comes to an end.
RHP Daniel Hudson struggled over the course of 23 games in 2021. Hudson finished the year with an ERA over five and it looked as if his time in San Diego was coming to an end. Sure enough, the Padres were willing to let him walk and Hudson ended up signing in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.
But if he ends up posting a bounce-back season in 2022 it could affect the Padres given the fact that LA and San Diego are in the same division.
RHP Keone Kela was once regarded as one of the better relievers in baseball. His reputation even garnered him consideration for the Padres closer role in 2021. However, he dealt with injuries through the year and was limited to just 12 games where he posted an ERA of above five.
Kela is another bounce-back candidate in 2022 and he is still a free agent. The Padres could strengthen their bullpen by re-signing Kela.
Outfielder Jake Marisnick played in just 34 games for San Diego last season. But the speedy outfielder is a useful depth piece to have on any roster given his baserunning ability and defensive prowess in the outfield. He is currently a free agent but should receive some attention once teams are able to sign players again.
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San Diego Padres Head Coach Analysis
Longtime Athletics manager Bob Melvin replaced Jayce Tingler as the Padres head coach this offseason. Melvin managed Oakland for 11 years and has coached at the big league level for 18 seasons. He has posted a .514 winning percentage over that 18-year span including a .528 winning percentage with the A’s.
The Padres needed a veteran manager to guide the ship and that is exactly what Melvin offers.
The man who he replaced, Jayce Tingler, was fired immediately after the regular season came to an end. Tingler’s firing was clearly a result of the Padre’s second-half collapse. The Padres were expected to compete with the Dodgers for the NL West division crown and instead ended up finishing with a record below the .500 mark.
San Diego is hopeful that Melvin’s weather of experience can help San Diego remain competitive throughout the grind of the 162 game slate.
San Diego Padres Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
Young pitchers Adrian Morejon and Micahel Baez are both expected to miss the majority of the season due to elbow injuries. Although it was unclear if either would have factored into the Padres 2022 plans, their window for making the big league roster will now be pushed back a bit further.
Morejon sticks out as he is one of the more exciting pitching prospects within the organization.
Chris Paddack dealt with injuries that might have led to his overall underperformance last year. San Diego is hopeful that Paddack can re-find his form in 2022.
Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger is expected to make his return to the Padres rotation this season. Clevinger shined over the course of four seasons in Cleveland before being dealt to San Diego in 2020. He pitched in just four games for the Padres before it was revealed that he would need Tommy John surgery and ended up missing the entire 2021 season.
Other players who are listed as probable for the beginning of the season include; Drew Pomeranz, Austin Nola, and Ethan Elliot.
San Diego Padres Prediction for 2022 Season
The Padres have an extremely talented team. If you were to take a look at their roster there is no way that you would have guessed this was a sub .500 team a season ago.
I believe that the Padres will find their way back into contention with Melvin at the helm. Melvin is a manager who knows how to get the most out of each and every one of his players. San Diego’s individual struggles from last year should be in line to turn around this season.
It will be interesting if the Padres have an interest in making any more moves during the offseason. Adding an extra bat or two to go along with some more pitching certainly would not hurt.
Right now, I would set their ceiling at first place in the NL West and their floor at third place in the division. On paper, this is a better team than the San Francisco Giants. But the Giants know how to win games and their chemistry is difficult to defeat.
But San Francisco saw their ace Kevin Gausman sign in Toronto and their core players are aging. The Padres should be able to leapfrog the Giants in 2022 MLB Lines.
But the Dodgers still stand in their way for the division crown. Los Angeles has seen some players leave the team, such as Corey Seager, but they are still one of the most talented teams in baseball.
My prediction in 2022 for the Padres in the MLB odds is that they will earn a Wild Card spot and finish second in the NL West.
San Diego Padres Final Thoughts
The Padres will be an exciting team to watch in 2022. Barring another complete meltdown from their starting rotation, San Diego should be on their way to the postseason.