The San Diego Padres were expected to be a perennial World Series contender after pushing all their chips in to acquire Juan Soto in a trade with the Washington Nationals. Instead of immediately competing for championships, the Padres’ title hopes were marred last season by Fernando Tatis Jr. suddenly getting suspended for 80 games.

Tatis will complete his suspension in 2023, re-positioning the Padres as a top-tier contender for the NL pennant. Xander Bogaerts was signed to a massive deal to play shortstop for the Padres, so Tatis Jr. will likely be slotted in the outfield when he returns from his suspension. Soto, Machado, and Jake Cronenworth are still with the team, along with a talented pitching staff highlighted by Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove.

The Padres’ offseason still needs to be finished. They still need to sign Jurickson Profar, who has yet to receive significant interest on the open market. Moreover, the Padres lost a slew of key pieces from last season’s roster, like Wil Myers, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Mike Clevinger. The team may need more than this current crop of players to beat the New York Mets or Los Angeles Dodgers, but the likelihood of the Padres adding a couple more talented players via trade is high.

Padres’ last-minute trade target: Corey Knebel

This is an excellent buy-low opportunity for the San Diego Padres. Corey Knebel was a significant piece in the bullpen of the Philadelphia Phillies, but he suffered a season-ending injury before the postseason. It’s less than a month before the start of Spring Training, and it does not seem like the Phillies want him back, so San Diego must pounce on this before it’s too late.