The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to stand pat late in the offseason while the San Diego Padres are ... involving themselves with free agent targets that make no sense? OK, then! But what would you rather have, Dodgers fans? Inaction or senseless action? At this point, it's tough.
Last month, the Padres presumably added their full-time designated hitter when they signed Matt Carpenter to a two-year, $12 million contract that could reach $21 million based on incentives. He'll earn $3.5 million in 2023 and has a $5.5 million player option for 2024.
Some critics might call that an overpay, but it's just money. And it's not like it was a prohibitive, desperate long-term contract. If Carpenter can replicate even a fraction of his otherworldly production with the New York Yankees last year, then this will be worth every penny.
But the Padres' latest free agent addition spurs nothing but confusion among just about everybody following the baseball news cycle at this point. Per Jon Heyman, the Pads' interest in Nelson Cruz, who is really nothing but a DH, has materialized, and he's signed a one-year deal with the team.
Is there a plan to use Carpenter in the field? If so, that's an advantage for the Dodgers. Carpenter was never regarded as a defender even in his younger days, and he's taken a plunge on that side of the ball from what we've seen the last two seasons.
Dodgers News: Padres sign Nelson Cruz
One could argue Carpenter's strongest position is first base and that he could still be effective there, but do they really want to use him there often when they have a more athletic option in Jake Cronenworth? If he's a backup option, that's fine, but then how much do they really need Cruz as a DH off the bench?
The 42-year-old (!!) Cruz might've been an All-Star in 2021, but his production took a nosedive in 2022 with the Nationals (but again, whose wouldn't?). Either way, if the Padres are going to get worse defensively (no true first baseman, no Jurickson Profar in left, Juan Soto in right field), how can they justify adding a "bat only" player in Cruz to their roster?
The Dodgers and Padres have taken completely different paths this offseason. The Dodgers have opted to curb spending and only make additions they felt filled specific voids, while also looking to give their young players a chance in 2023. The Padres have spent recklessly, and seemingly have a lot of mix-and-match pieces on their roster.
Add Cruz into the mix, and they have some of the weakest (or at least questionable) depth in the league, if you're talking all-around baseball personnel.