2016 Padres Potential Free Agent Targets

San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller

The 2015 San Diego Padres made massive changes to their roster before the season and didn’t get the results that they wanted. Don’t expect the same level of changes to be made this offseason, but it does appear that the Padres will be involved in the free agent market in one way or another. Let’s take a look at what they might be looking for, what will be available, and which players would be the best fit.

Shortstop

The biggest weakness from the 2015 Padres, the one that GM A.J. Preller was not able to fill, is still a position of need. Currently, the team’s starting SS would be Jedd Gyorko, a 3B who switched positions to 2B years ago and should not be a starter at the most important infield position, even though he played admirably when given the chance to start there towards the end of the season.

Free Agents:
Ian Desmond
Alexei Ramirez

Not a lot to choose from here, which will drive the market up for both of these guys. Both Desmond and Ramirez are former All-Stars coming off down seasons. At 30 and 34 years old, respectively, Desmond and Ramirez will be looking for one last big contract from whichever team needs them the most.

Left-Handed Hitter

The Padres admitted over the offseason that one issue with their roster creation was the overwhelming number of right-handed power bats and the lack of left-handed hitters. The only LH batter with a slugging percentage over .400 last season was Brett Wallace, which will give him a chance to win the starting 1B job despite starting just 9 games there in 2015.

Free Agents:
Chris Davis
Alex Gordon
Gerardo Parra
Nori Aoki

Here’s where things can get interesting. This list includes a 1B, a 3B-turned-LF, a RF, and a LF. Depending on where the Padres want to play Derek Norris, Will Myers, Brett Wallace, Matt Kemp, and Jedd Gyorko, the team has a lot of flexibility. That gives them the chance to go after any of these guys, or more than one, and then shift the pieces around them afterward.

Innings Eater

Even in a down year, Ian Kennedy still threw over 165 innings last season. With a farm system that’s fairly thin in regards to starting pitching, replacing Kennedy’s workload as the team’s #3 or #4 starter may need to fall on the shoulders of a free agent.

Free Agents:
A.J. Burnett
Mike Pelfrey
Kyle Kendrick
Mat Latos

Here are three “low cost” options that could end up saving the team money without much of a drop-off in production in what they were getting from Ian Kennedy. Burnett is the most interesting one, after seeing how successful he has been with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he’s also 38 years old and his body may start working against him soon. Latos is a former Padres ace that could be looking for a short-term contract to rebuild his reputation.

Which available free agents do you think would help the 2016 Padres the most? Which ones would you like to see the Padres target during free agency? Let us know in the comments below!

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