MLB Rumors: Marlins' Pablo López Seen by Exec as Potential Trade Match with Padres

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2023

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04:Miami Marlins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez (49) stares down a batter during the Sunday afternoon MLB game between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves on September 4, 2022 at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller may not be done retooling the roster this offseason.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Padres could be a landing spot for Miami Marlins starting pitcher Pablo López, with veteran shortstop Ha-Seong Kim going the other way in the swap.

López went 10-10 with a 3.75 ERA and 3.71 FIP in 32 starts in 2022. He also logged a career-high 180 innings, and his performance seemed to suffer from the increased workload. The right-hander posted a 2.86 ERA and a 1.067 WHIP in the first half of the year. Those numbers were 4.97 and 1.303, respectively, in the second half.

Still, you'd feel reasonably good about targeting a starter who boasts a 3.77 FIP and a 106 ERA+ for his MLB career.

A López trade would suit both the Marlins and Padres nicely.

After the Marlins signed Johnny Cueto, a deal involving one of their starting pitchers feels inevitable. They had six pitchers make at least 14 starts last season, and all six of those players are under team control for 2023 before you factor in Cueto.

Assuming reigning Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara is untouchable, moving López is the easiest way to upgrade a lineup that needs to be strengthened.

The Padres, meanwhile, could use another starter to round out their rotation.

As things stand, both Seth Lugo and Nick Martinez are projected for starting roles. Lugo has made seven total starts over the past three seasons—all of which came in 2020. Martinez was utilized primarily as a reliever after returning to MLB in 2022, though he was a starter while pitching in Japan.

Still, counting on Lugo and Martinez to take two rotation slots is a bit risky for a team with San Diego's lofty aspirations, and Preller probably knows that.