Padres Notes: Bench, Musgrove, Payroll, Machado


Following San Diego’s addition of second baseman Rougned Odor on a minor league deal yesterday, the competition to be part of the Padres Opening Day bench gained a new entrant. As’s AJ Cassavell notes, the absence of Fernando Tatis Jr. while he completes his PED suspension and the possibility that outfielder Adam Engel isn’t ready for Opening Day as he works his way back from a calf strain open up new possibilities for players hoping to break camp as a member of the bench in San Diego.

One of the four spots on the Padres Opening Day bench is certain to be reserved for backup catcher Luis Campusano. As for the last three spots, Odor seems likely to compete with outfielders David Dahl and Jose Azocar, and utility player Brandon Dixon. Odor provides the least versatility of those options, as all but 259 of his career innings in the field have come at second base. By contrast, Dahl and Azocar both have experience at all three outfield spots, while Dixon has played all four corners and second base during his career. Still, Cassavell notes that Odor’s status as a lefty bat could give him, (and, presumably, Dahl) a leg up on earning a spot on the bench entering the season.

Assuming no additional injuries complicate matters, Matt Carpenter will shift to the bench once Tatis is eligible to return after the first 20 games of the season, while Engel will join the bench as soon as he is healthy. At that point, there will only be one spot still available on the bench in San Diego for the aforementioned quartet. Azocar, Dahl, and Dixon all have options remaining, though Odor does not.

More from San Diego…

  • Joe Musgrove, who is currently out of action with a fractured toe, is expected to miss at the least the first two starts of the regular season, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Acee notes that it’s possible that without Musgrove’s contributions, the Padres may opt to go with a five man rotation to open the season, preferring to add depth to a bullpen that could be taxed more than usual without the durable right-hander pitching deep into games. Ryan Weathers, Adrian Morejon, Brent Honeywell, and Cole Hamels are among the pitchers who could take Musgrove’s spot on the roster, though whether that spot will earn them a role in the bullpen or the rotation is currently unclear.
  • Even after signing Manny Machado to his second $300MM+ contract, the Padres appear to have no interest in slowing down, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Given Padres owner Peter Seidler’s already unprecedented investment in the big league club for an organization of their market size, it’s difficult to predict where the limits on spending could be. Lin notes that the backloaded nature of Machado’s new 11-year, $350MM deal with San Diego could help the club pursue an extension with fellow superstar, Juan Soto. It could also assist in a planned pursuit of two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani should he hit free agency following the 2023 season as expected, even in spite of the fact that a deal with either player could cost even more than it did to extend Machado. Discussing his recent extension, Machado explains that a candid conversation with Seidler led to the contract eventually being hammered out. Seidler, for his part, says the Padres are “willing and excited about continuing to sign great players.”

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