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No Major League Baseball team has done more to improve itself recently than the Padres, who aren’t content to rest on their laurels after earning their first playoff berth since 2006. Going back to Sunday, the Padres have acquired 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell from the Rays, reached a deal with Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim and agreed to land right-hander Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini from the Cubs. In an extensive breakdown of the Padres’ sudden flurry of moves, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN declares that they’re one of the two best teams in baseball, joining the division-rival Dodgers. And even after the Snell and Darvish trades, the Padres still boast a well-above-average farm system. In McDaniel’s estimation, San Diego could be a serious contender “without any real sign of a terrible contract” for at least the next three years.

Here’s more on the Padres:

  • The Padres are open to trying both Kim and Jake Cronenworth in the outfield next season, tweets Dennis Lin of The Athletic. There have been conflicting reports on San Diego’s plans for Cronenworth, the soon-to-be 27-year-old Rookie of the Year runner-up. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said yesterday the plan was to move him to the outfield with Kim taking regular reps at second base, but Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote last night that one source in the organization said there are no plans to put Cronenworth in the outfield. The team will evaluate its options in Spring Training, it seems. It’s perhaps even worth pointing out that the club has previously considered the possibility of Fernando Tatis Jr. in the outfield, so the Friars will certainly be open-minded in sorting out their infield mix.
  • Thanks in part to the addition of Kim, it “appears unlikely” the Padres will re-sign free-agent infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, Lin reports. The switch-hitting Profar enjoyed a productive year in 2020, which could go down as his lone season as a Padre, with a .277/.343/.428 line, seven home runs and seven stolen bases in 202 plate appearances. But it doesn’t look as if there’s room in San Diego anymore for Profar, as team officials suggested Monday that the Pads’ bench is at capacity, per Lin.
  • A Profar reunion may not be in the cards, but with the Padres still needing to bolster their bullpen, it’s a “possibility” they’ll re-sign free-agent reliever Kirby Yates, Lin writes. Yates unexpectedly turned into an elite reliever after San Diego claimed him via waivers from the Angels in 2017, and he went on to pitch to a 2.31 ERA/2.42 FIP with 13.95 K/9, 2.46 BB/9 and 54 saves in 179 1/3 innings through 2019. However, Yates barely factored in during his contract year last season because of elbow problems. The 33-year-old righty tallied just four innings before undergoing surgery in the middle of August. For the Padres or other teams hoping for a revival, though, Yates could make for an interesting pickup on what’s sure to be a reasonable contract.
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