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2023 Preview: San Diego Padres

Mar 11, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) signs autographs before a game against the Chicago White Sox at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

2022 record: 89-73; second in NL West

Offseason headlines: A big October that led to a spot in the National League Championship Series provided some momentum for the winter and led to the additions of Xander Bogaerts, Seth Lugo, Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. RHP Yu Darvish was locked into a six-year, $108 million extension. The biggest question, though, is how Fernando Tatis Jr. prepared himself during the offseason for his return from a motorcycle crash after the 2021 season and a PED suspension that still has 20 games remaining.

Spring storylines: There were familiar faces in new places after Bogaerts took over at shortstop. That left Ha-Seong Kim to shift from short to second base while bumping Jake Cronenworth from second over to first base. After not playing in a year and a half, Tatis looked rusty this spring, but the real measure of how much he will be able to contribute with a surgically repaired wrist and shoulder will come once he sees consistent regular-season at-bats. For all of the roster splashes the Padres made, they must now find a consistent back half of the rotation behind Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell. Musgrove worked through a toe injury this spring.

Young guns: Luis Campusano will get a chance to deliver at catcher behind Austin Nola and his growth will be key to lock down a position that is not a huge strength. Concerns were heightened when Nola was hit in the face by a pitch late in the spring, but he was not seriously injured. With three-fourths of the Padres infield away at the WBC, 19-year-old shortstop Jackson Merrill had a chance to impress the coaching staff this spring and is expected to be on the fast track through the farm system.

Fall feeling: A return to the postseason is expected for a team that forced its way into the playoffs last year and dispatched the rival Dodgers in the NLDS. San Diego still is looking for its first division title since 2006.

Odds, even: The Padres are +950 to win the World Series at DraftKings, the fifth-lowest odds in the major leagues and the third-lowest in the NL. The Padres are the second favorite to win the NL West at +115, the lowest of a second favorite in any division in baseball.

–Field Level Media

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