Coming into the 2021 MLB season, expectations surrounding the San Diego Padres were higher than they had been in some time. Excluding the shortened and completely doofy 2020 season, the Padres have not even made the postseason since 2006. Last offseason, the front office appeared to go all in to set the team up for success. After a strong first half, San Diego wilted over the final two months. Not only did the Padres miss the playoffs, but they also wound up with a sub-.500 record. Throw out the 2020 numbers and the franchise has not even had a winning season since 2010.
Although the Padres’ hands were somewhat tied this offseason as far as MLB free agency, a change in leadership after the late-season collapse was clearly necessary. In steps longtime Oakland Athletics skipper Bob Melvin to be the new Padres manager. Unfortunately, San Diego is already dealing with adversity on the injury front ahead of Opening Day. The following article recaps the most notable San Diego Padres free agency and offseason transactions, looks at the team’s projected starting lineup and previews the roster’s strengths and weaknesses ahead of the 2022 MLB season.
San Diego Padres 2021 Season in Review
Record: 79-83 (No. 3 in NL West)
Run Differential: +21
Team Batting Average: .242 (No. 16 in MLB)
Team Pitching ERA: 4.10 (No. 14 in MLB)
Postseason Result: N/A
San Diego Padres Free Agency Transactions
- Nick Martinez, SP (from TEX)
- Luis Garcia, RP (from STL)
- Tommy Pham, OF (to CIN)
- Mark Melancon, RP (to ARI)
- Daniel Hudson, RP (to LAD)
2022 MLB Season Preview | San Diego Padres
Compared to last offseason, this winter was a quiet one for the Padres, labor lockout aside. The Padres only signed two players in MLB free agency. The acquisition of starting pitcher Nick Martinez could actually be a sneaky win for San Diego. Pitching depth was a big reason why the Padres sunk like a rock down the stretch last season. While a healthy staff should help reverse this trend, Martinez could be a solid option at the back end of the rotation.
The other free-agent acquisition the Padres made was signing deliver Luis Garcia. Unfortunately, the bullpen remains a major question mark, as does the team’s ability to generate offense. One of the unfortunate effects that the MLB lockout had was that players had to stay away from team facilities. Star Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a significant wrist injury in a motorcycle accident during the offseason. Because of the lockout, team doctors couldn’t even make the determination that surgery was the best course of action until one month before Opening Day.
As a result, Tatis is set to possibly miss the first three full months of the regular season. Given his injury history, one has to be concerned about his durability when he does make it back to the San Diego Padres’ active roster as well. In his absence, it will be up to Manny Machado to carry the bulk of the load offensively.
Projected San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
Lineup and rotation projections reflect the latest update on RotoChamp.com
- Trent Grisham, OF
- Manny Machado, 3B
- Jake Cronenworth, 2B
- Luke Voit, DH
- Eric Hosmer, 1B
- Wil Myers, OF
- Austin Nola, C
- Jurickson Profar, OF
- Ha-seong Kim, SS
Projected San Diego Padres Starting Rotation
- Joe Musgrove
- Yu Darvish
- Blake Snell
- Mike Clevinger
- Nick Martinez
San Diego Padres Roster Breakdown
Greatest Strength — Potential-Laden Rotation
Although things failed to materialize for the Padres’ pitching staff last year, the starting rotation is once again loaded with promise heading into 2022. Each of Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell have been staff aces at points in their MLB careers. Unfortunately, both Darvish and Snell struggled mightily last season, the first for both with the Padres.
Assuming they manage to bounce back, one could argue that San Diego has one of the deepest rotations in all of baseball. This argument hinges on Mike Clevinger’s ability to return to form after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. While Martinez slots in as the fifth starter for now, Chris Paddack could also be in the mix as he is reportedly progressing well in his own injury comeback.
Glaring Weakness — Highly Suspect Bullpen
In Dinelson Lamet, the Padres have one of the game’s most overlooked relievers. Outside of the big righthander, San Diego’s bullpen is quite literally a mishmash of average players. Because of the lack of talent in the pen, it will be even more critical for the starting rotation to deliver on the potential alluded to above. Bob Melvin could be in for some late-inning headaches this year when it comes to protecting leads and working matchups.
San Diego Padres Season Outlook, MLB Betting Odds and Prediction
All MLB betting odds are taken from Bovada Sportsbook.
World Series: +1500
NL Pennant: +650
NL West Division: +350
To Make the Playoffs: Yes: (-250) | No: (+170)
Regular Season Win Total: 88.5 — Over: (-115) | Under: (-115)
Despite the fact that the Padres are staring at 2+ months without their best player in Fernando Tatis Jr., the MLB betting odds are tilted heavily in favor of this team reaching the postseason. While there is certainly an argument to be made in San Diego’s favor, a playoff berth is hardly a lock.
In addition to having to start the year without their biggest offensive threat, one has to believe the Padres’ lackluster bullpen will catch up with them sooner than later. The fact that they will have to contend with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and sneaky Colorado Rockies in the NL West Division ensures that nothing is a given. Could the Padres make the postseason? Absolutely. Are the odds of them doing so as promising as the 71.4% implied probability that is suggested by the -250 odds? Definitely not. A plus-money return on San Diego’s playoff drought is well worth a look.
San Diego Padres Season Prediction: Miss the Playoffs (+170 at Bovada Sportsbook)