Did the San Diego Padres season end just about a month ago? Yes. Is it too early to start looking at what the roster makeup could be heading into the 2023 season? Heck no.

No matter how successful last season was for the Padres, there is no question that AJ Preller has voids to fill this offseason… and the largest may very well be the first base spot.

With Josh Bell, Wil Myers, and Brandon Drury hitting free agency, the swinging friars currently sit without a 1B option. And while Jake Cronenworth is more than capable of filling that first base spot, it does not sound like that is how Preller and the Padres want to roll next season.

So, where does that leave us? Where should the Padres turn? Well, while I may not know for certain, there are several ways I see the Padres addressing the first base position. Allow me to walk you through my thinking.

Behind door A: Enter José Abreu. If I’m being transparent, this is the route I want the Padres to take. Since entering the league in 2014, Abreu has been the model of consistency. With a career OPS of .860, SLUG% of .506, and OPS+ of 133, Abreu would provide an immediate spark of the gap to gap power at the 1B spot that the friars have lacked since Adrian Gonzalez donned a Padres uniform.

Editor’s Note: as of press-time, Abreu had signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Astros.

Of course, he does come with some risk. In 2022 his home run total took a significant dip as he recorded just 15 bombs. He is also going to be 36 when the year starts. But I think in Petco’s spacious gap-to-gap outfield, he will find plenty of success and revert closer to his career.

Option B: Re-sign and platoon Wil Myers. Why not bring back the former face of the franchise on a cheaper deal? Earlier this month, the Padres declined Wil Myers’s 20 million dollar club option, making him a free agent. But both sides have already expressed mutual interest in making a return to one another.

From the Padre’s perspective, this would make sense. Wil at 1B is a different player. In 2016 he was an all-star and Gold Glove Finalist there. And when he moved back there in late 2022, he exploded again as he slashed .281/.343/.531, good enough for an OPS of .871. I know it may seem a bit odd, but Wil has proven to be a very productive Padre when at First, and I think signing him to a two-year 12 million dollar type deal would work well for both sides. Let him handle the lefties and have Jake take the righties, and I think we’d all be happy with the results.

Option C: Take a flier/ sign Cody Bellinger. Now I will coincide; this is a bit more out of the three options. But just hear me out for a second. I understand the last three seasons for the former 2018 NL MVP have been a nightmare and that if the Dodgers can’t save or salvage him, then maybe no one can. But I still view his upside as worth the risk.

We’re talking about someone who, when on, can be a 40-homer guy and can play elite defense. People often forget when Bellinger arrived in Dodger blue; it was at first base. And he played elite D there. I think a change of scenery could do him well, and maybe, just maybe, he can find that offensive prowess that once struck fear into opposing pitchers. Bellinger on a one-year 12 million dollar “prove it” contract would be a deal I would strongly consider.

Vol. 38, No. 48 - Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022

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