Parent Notes: Martinez, Morejon, Suarez, Drury, Myers

The Padres reached the NL Championship Series for the first time since 1998, but their season came to an end yesterday when they were eliminated by the Phillies in five games. San Diego now turns its attention to the offseason, where they’ll face a decent number of potential roster changes around a star-studded core.

San Diego will see Mike Clevinger, Sean Manaeacommercial mid-season harvests josh bell Y Brandon Druri and painkillers pierce johnson Y craig stammen They all reach free agency. A handful of other players have contract options that could land them on the open market. Each one of Nicholas Martinez, Roberto Suarez Y Jurickson Profar has the possibility of canceling their contracts this winter. will myersmeanwhile, he has a $20MM team option that is sure to be bought for $1MM.

Martinez and Suarez were two of San Diego’s most influential relievers down the stretch, raising the possibility that a good chunk of the Padres’ bullpen could hit the open market. As part of a broader look at the questions facing the list (an article worth reading in its entirety), Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune suggests that Martinez is likely to test the open market. The right-hander signed a four-year, $25.5MM guarantee last winter following a three-season run in Japan, and the contract gives him an opportunity to opt out after each season. You’re owed $19.5 million over the next three years, but you’re owed a $1.5 million buyout if you opt out, which means you have to decide if you can beat a three-year, $18 million guarantee. on the open market.

MLBTR’s Steve Adams took a long hard look at the situation last month, noting that Martinez’s strong performance out of the bullpen made that decision an interesting one. Acee indicates that Martinez might prioritize finding a rotation opportunity after working in a supporting role this year. The 32-year-old started 10 of his first 12 starts but moved to the bullpen full-time in mid-June. At the time of his transfer to the bullpen, he had a 4.05 ERA with an average strikeout rate of 21.9% and a slightly elevated walk percentage of 10.4%. After the move to relief, Martínez worked 46 frames of a 2.74 ERA. He lowered his walk rate to 7.4%, but his strikeout rate dropped a percentage point. Despite lacking power, swing and miss stuff, Martinez had eight saves and served as a generally versatile bullpen piece for manager Bob Melvin.

Martinez’s apparent desire for a spot in the rotation shouldn’t inherently rule him out in San Diego. Although he was kicked out of the mix midseason, the Friars went on to try mackenzie gore in the Juan Soto trade. Coupled with the aforementioned free agencies of Clevinger and Manaea, there should be a good opportunity behind Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish Y blake snell. Acee indicates that the Padres do not want to abandon the possibility of using Adrian Morejon as a starter, though. The left-hander, once one of the game’s top pitching prospects, worked out of the bullpen 26 times this year after missing nearly all of last season due to Tommy John surgery. Morejon isn’t guaranteed a spot in the season-opening rotation next year, but it looks like the Friars are willing to stretch him out again after a healthy offseason.

Suarez was an easier power bullpen arm. He also signed out of the NPB last offseason, making 45 regular-season appearances despite missing two months with right knee inflammation. He posted a 2.27 ERA over 47 2/3 innings, striking out a whopping 31.9% of opponents. Suarez’s control was erratic, but he wielded a 90-plus fastball and was Melvin’s most trusted bullpen arm late in the season. It ended on a sour note, with Suárez giving up the go-ahead home run to bryce harp that ended San Diego’s year, but he got out of several jams early in the postseason. With that kind of speed and swing-and-miss stuff, it’s a lock to sidestep the final $5 million on his deal in favor of a $1 million buyout and a taste of free agency.

Things are a little more settled on the position player side, but president of baseball operations AJ Preller and his staff will also have some key decisions to make. The first is whether to retain any of the impending free agents. Acee writes that the team is open to bringing back Drury, who hit eight home runs in 46 games as a Padre. He only had a .290 on-base percentage during that time, but had posted a .274/.335/.520 performance with 20 home runs for the Reds during the first few months of the season. Drury can cover any position other than shortstop in the infield and could serve as a corner option in the outfield with the team potentially losing Profar and Myers.

For his part, Myers indicated that he is open to returning to San Diego (link via AJ Cassavell of He certainly won’t be on the $20MM option, but Myers will find a major league contract at a lower base salary this offseason. He has typically provided the Friars with a slightly above-average offense, and that was the case again in 2022. Myers hit .261/.315/.398 in 286 plate appearances. He didn’t offer much against right-handed pitching, but he did hit six home runs in 90 plate appearances against lefties and carries a .255/.351/.453 career line as he holds the pack lead.

With Bell’s possible departure, the Friars don’t have an obvious inside first baseman option, perhaps opening the door for Myers to return at a lower rate. They could certainly dip into the free agent class there, though Acee notes that there is some support in the organization to play jake croenworth more often at first. Cronenworth is an above-average defensive second baseman, which makes him somewhat of an oddity, but San Diego has one of the most talented infields in the game. Ha Seong Kim proved to be an everyday player replacing Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, while Manny Machado he’s an MVP candidate in the hot corner.

Tatis did not play in 2022 due to injuries and a performance-enhancing drug suspension, but will return to the club at the end of April next year. Tatis still has 20 games left on his 80-game suspension — he’s missed 48 regular-season contests and 12 playoff games this year — but will return to the daily lineup a few weeks later next year. Putting him back at shortstop might require kicking Kim across the base from second base. That would make for one of the best defensive infields in the game, particularly valuable with the upcoming trade limitations. San Diego has also explored the possibility of playing Tatis in center field while reducing Trent Grisham playing time after a .184/.284/.341 line. That could be under consideration again, but Tatis has previously expressed his preference for staying at shortstop.

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