Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been one of the busier GMs in Major League Baseball this offseason. Preller took some time away from the hot stove this week, however, and joined CBS Sports' Fantasy Baseball Today podcast to recap his wild winter and share some insight into San Diego's 2021 season outlook.
San Diego traded for three starting pitchers (Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove) and signed Korean standout Ha-Seong Kim. There's no such thing as too much pitching depth in baseball, but the flurry of pitchers added this winter naturally raised concerns that Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet may not be fully healthy for this upcoming season.
Lamet, 28, has previously undergone Tommy John surgery and missed the end of the regular season and the entirety of the playoffs due to an elbow injury. He underwent PRP therapy on his elbow in October in an effort to avoid surgery. Lamet recorded an excellent 2.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 69 innings during the shortened 2020 season. Preller confirmed to Fantasy Baseball Today that Lamet should be ready to go at full capacity for spring training in three weeks, and said that his rehab thus far has been successful.
"I saw him a couple weeks ago in the Dominican [Republic]," Preller told FBT. "He's a workout warrior, he's one of these seven days a week, he pushes himself. From a training standpoint, he's in a really good spot in terms of being ahead of last year's pace with everything they've put in front of him so far. His throwing program, where his arm health is, he's been throwing bullpens, all of those so far have been good.
"But I think we're realistic, for us it's gonna be getting [Lamet] into spring training. Until he really is able to take the ball and throw it at top-effort in a game situation, come back and throw his bullpen, come back, throw five days later and just keep repeating that process, we're going to see where it goes. I think the good news is that the doctors and trainers agree that they feel like he's in a really good place. So far, his body and his offseason has been very good, throwing bullpens and he should be a full-go for spring training."
You can listen to more of Preller's interview with Fantasy Baseball Today below:
While Preller maintained Lamet is having a good offseason, there's likely still a lack of full confidence in his ability to regain and handle a full starter's workload this season. That's where the Musgrove, Darvish and Snell additions come in and will certainly help the club to ease any unknowns about Lamet form when he's able to return to games.
Preller's aggressive offseason moves have cemented the Padres' status as serious 2021 World Series contenders. So much so that the club has the third-best odds to win the 2021 World Series. Only the division rival and defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have better odds. The Padres are serious about World Series contention in 2021 after ending a 14-year long postseason drought in 2020.