The Padres saw four members of their rotation mix department for free agency back in November, led by reigning NL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell. Along with their ace southpaw, San Diego parted ways with right-handers Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, and Nick Martinez, each of whom has found a new club. At least in the case of Lugo, however, it appears San Diego hoped to continue the relationship into 2024 and beyond. According to Dennis Lin of The Athletic, the Padres made a four-year offer to Lugo before he landed in Kansas City on a three-year, $45MM deal last month. Lin adds that while San Diego was willing to beat the Royals’ offer in terms of years, their offer came at a lower average annual value than that of Kansas City.
That the Padres would want to reunite with Lugo is hardly a surprise given his successful 2023 with the club. After spending his entire career with the Mets prior to hitting free agency last winter, Lugo signed on with San Diego on a two-year deal with an opt-out after the 2023 campaign. After spending most of his time in Queens as a reliever, Lugo stepped into the Padres’ rotation and made 26 starts for the club last year with a 3.57 ERA (115 ERA+) and 3.83 FIP in 146 1/3 innings of work. San Diego entered the winter with just Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish locked into the 2024 rotation, and the return of Lugo would have greatly improved the club’s rotation even after the Padres managed to add Michael King, Randy Vasquez, and Jhony Brito to their Opening Day rotation mix in the Juan Soto trade.
Ultimately, of course, Lugo chose to head to Kansas City. Still, that the Padres felt they had enough room in the budget to make an offer to Lugo could be a positive sign for the club’s ability to fill the remaining holes on their roster before Opening Day. Adding at least one more starter to slot into the middle of the club’s rotation alongside King figures to be a priority for the Padres, particularly after they’ve addressed the bullpen by landing Yuki Matsui and Woo Suk Go in recent weeks. Beyond the rotation, the club’s lineup is in dire need of an overhaul after the club parted ways with Soto, Trent Grisham, and Matt Carpenter in trade this offseason. A left-handed bat such as Joc Pederson or Eddie Rosario would make plenty of sense to occupy either left field or DH, and the club was also recently reported as being among the teams interested in center fielder Michael A. Taylor.
More from around the National League…
- As the Phillies look to augment their club with pitching and outfield depth this winter, Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that they’ve received interest in a package of shortstop prospect Bryan Rincon and catching prospect Eduardo Tait from at least three clubs, though Philadelphia has rebuffed the advances of rival clubs on the duo to this point. Rincon, in February, was a 14th-round pick by the Phillies in the 2022 draft and sports strong defense along with a switch-hitting bat and a 14.8% walk rate for his career in the minor leagues against a strikeout rate of just 17.8%. Tait, meanwhile, signed with the Phillies out of Panama last year and slashed an impressive .333/.400/.517 during his first taste of affiliated ball in the Dominican Summer League.
- Among the 22 arbitration-eligible players who did not agree to a contract with his club for the 2024 season by yesterday’s deadline was Reds second baseman Jonathan India, who filed at $4MM against the club’s $3.2MM counteroffer. Reds GM Nick Krall recently spoke regarding the dispute between player and club, as noted by Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer. As relayed by Wittenmeyer, Krall emphasized that he doesn’t consider the impending arbitration hearing to be “adversarial” and explained the $800K gap in negotiations by saying that there was a “fundamental issue” between the sides that prevented the deal from getting done. Clubs often take strict stances in arbitration negotiations because both settlements and arbitration decisions can be used as precedent for salaries not for the player in question as he advances through the arbitration process but also by future players around the league. That at times leads to tension between players and their clubs, with right-hander Corbin Burnes’s spat with the Brewers last year standing as a recent example.