San Diego Padres: A.J. Preller’s Lack of Offseason Activity is Stunning

The MLB free agency period kicked off shortly after the lockout ended. Money was tossed everywhere, with Freddie Freeman, Carlos Correa, Nick Castellanos, Trevor Story, and others receiving massive paydays. One team that was expected to be active was the San Diego Padres.

Yet, somehow, the Padres have been quiet, despite the news of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s injury that should sideline him for a few months. General manager A.J. Preller has made a name for himself with blockbuster moves time and time again and everybody thought he was going to cash in this time.

However, he hasn’t. At least not yet. But, perhaps Preller’s quietness is a sign that a massive deal is in the works. Either way, Preller’s lack of activity is strange, but it shouldn’t be discouraging.

The Padres have been relatively quiet this time around

This is all you can say about the Padres. Their most significant move this offseason has been hiring Bob Melvin as the team’s new manager, which is a home run decision.

Besides that, not much else has happened.

The Padres traded for Luke Voit, which is a decent addition, but other than that, here’s who they have added to their roster this offseason:

  • Matt Beaty
  • Robert Suarez
  • Nick Martinez
  • Jorge Alfaro
  • Luis Garcia

That’s all, at least for now.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic also didn’t think too highly of the Padres’ offseason.

The Padres spent much of the winter trying to trade Hosmer and Wil Myers; they were willing to add prospects to the deals to shed those contracts, but struck out. They suffered two significant bullpen losses as closer Mark Melancon and Daniel Hudson departed in free agency. And they started spring training with brutal news, announcing that Fernando Tatis Jr. had fractured his left wrist during the offseason and could take three months to recover.

Jim Bowden

The Padres have failed to dump Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers, meaning both players and their massive contracts will likely be in San Diego for 2022. Adam Frazier — a trade deadline acquisition in 2021 — was dealt to the Seattle Mariners, and Tommy Pham left in free agency for a deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

All of that hurts the Padres more than it helps, and the Frazier trade was also a question mark even at the deadline last season.

But, despite the lack of splashy moves for the Padres, perhaps Preller has something up his sleeve.

What is A.J. Preller waiting for?

The Padres have been quiet this time around.
San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller talks with reporters on opening day before a baseball game | Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The million-dollar question is precisely that. What is Preller waiting for?

Freeman and Castellanos were both rumored options for the Padres, but they were outbid for both stars. So, who knows what’s going on in San Diego.

Nonetheless, he insists they are looking to improve the roster.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Padres are looking to improve. After all, Preller has a reputation for that since coming to sunny Southern California.

Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Mike Clevinger, and Trent Grisham are just a few splashy moves Preller has made in the past few years. Before that, it was Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and, of course, the dumping of James Shields’ contract in exchange for Tatis.

There are many more moves Preller has made — too many to count — and indeed he isn’t content with this roster. Or maybe he is.

At this point, nobody has any idea what Preller is doing, but with Opening Day right around the corner and the big names already playing elsewhere, there aren’t too many options.

But, there could be an obvious reason why Preller has been so complacent.

The Padres’ payroll is one of the highest in the MLB

The Padres have spent an enormous ton of money over the past few years. Manny Machado signed a $300 million deal, Eric Hosmer inked a $144 million contract back in 2018, and Tatis signed a lengthy 14-year deal worth north of $300 million.

Myers also has a big contract, even though his runs out sooner than the rest.

That is a lot of money tied to those players, although Machado and Tatis are cornerstones for the franchise for the next decade, at least.

On the other hand, Hosmer and Myers are two names that have been on the trade market for some time, although nobody has seemed to kick the tires too seriously on either player.

So, that is why Preller has been standing pat. Until one of Hosmer or Myers is traded out of San Diego, there isn’t much they can do. Or, at least, there isn’t much they want to do.

Nonetheless, the Padres have a solid roster set to take the field in 2022, so don’t count this team out in the loaded National League West.

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