Last weekend the San Diego Padres made a significant improvement to their starting rotation as they acquired southpaw Sean Manaea from the Oakland Athletics. Manaea had been a staple in the A’s rotation since 2016, and he’s put up consistent numbers with Oakland.

He’ll be joining a San Diego Padres ballclub who needs to accrue every win they can with the juggernaut that is the Los Angeles Dodgers in their division. This trade is certainly a step in the right direction if the Padres expect to make it to the postseason.

Manaea in San Diego

Manaea will join a Padres rotation which features Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger and Chris Paddack. Right now Manaea is listed on the depth chart as the third starter, but that’s definitely subject to change as Opening Day looms just a couple days away.

Manaea’s consistency will be a welcome addition to a San Diego ballclub who need to get off to a hot start if they want any chance to contend in the National League West. In his six seasons with the Athletics, Manaea went 50-41 with a 3.86 earned run average and 1.204 walks + hits per innings pitched rate and 641 strikeouts over a total of 727 innings pitched. Good but not great numbers.

Manaea is a pitcher whose potential can be seen when he’s on the hill, but who has suffered from being on the pitiful franchise that is the current-day Oakland Athletics. He just turned 30 a couple months ago so his best baseball is still potentially ahead of him. 

Manaea will be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season which makes this season a win-win for both him and the Padres. San Diego will get at least one year of a reliable pitcher in their rotation and Manaea will get to audition for the rest of the league on his new ballclub.

Manaea’s success in San Diego will hinge on his ability to demonstrate even better consistency than he did with Oakland. He and Snell will fix to be the resident southpaws in San Diego’s rotation for the duration of the 2022 season. 

2022 Padres at Large

There had been a great deal of optimism for the Padres as the offseason progressed, but it came to a screeching and nervous halt when it was announced that star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. would need surgery for a fractured wrist which will likely keep him out for three months.

This has put a massive crimp in the Padres’ momentum as a team moving into the 2022 regular season as they’ll likely be going the majority of it without Tatis Jr. on the diamond. However, there is still a lot to like about this team. Other than a relatively strong rotation, which will be improved even more so by Manaea, the Padres have a great lineup.

In Tatis Jr’s absence, it will likely be All-Star third baseman Manny Machado taking over that star role as well as continuing to be a clubhouse leader. In addition to Machado, the Padres have great offensive pieces in second baseman Jake Cronenworth, first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Wil Myers.

The Friars will be led by their new manager, Bob Melvin, who has won Manager of the Year three times and is an excellent clubhouse presence. 

The Giants and Dodgers are going to give them a challenge yet again this season, but if the Padres play up to their potential then this squad may very well be contending for a Wild Card spot in 2022.