Padres spring training journey starts this week in Peoria

Tatis' return to action, Machado extension, and expectations headline Spring Training

Even though players aren’t required to report to Arizona for Cactus League activities until later in the week, the Padres clubhouse is already filling up with well-known stars, all thrilled to get the 2023 campaign underway.

“You can tell everyone’s eager for this season,” manager Bob Melvin said. “The fan base has really embraced it…when you have this many household names, it adds to the excitement.”

Several players are around Peoria now thanks to the World Baseball Classic, which gets underway in March. MLB required those playing in the event to show up to their team’s facilities a week ahead of schedule to prepare, but many players are walking in ahead of schedule. It’s hard to blame them – when there’s so much anticipation, and so much riding on this Padres team, there’s an impulse to start the work now.

It’s a Padres club that’s spent more money than nearly every MLB team, not just on free agent signings like shortstop Xander Bogaerts, but on keeping their own players in brown and gold, including pitchers Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish.

Those three alone represent nearly $500 million in cash over the next decade – and they’re just the beginning of what the Padres front office is willing to shell out on the hopes of a world championship.

“You have long term and short term goals,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I think everyone here knows what the expectations are.”

Eyes will also be on Fernando Tatis Jr, who arrived in Arizona last week. While he won’t be involved in the first 20 games of the season due to his performance-enhancing drugs suspension, he will be allowed to be part of Spring Training. Tatis is expected to mainly work in the outfield.

Public workouts will begin on Tuesday, and the first game for the Padres is on February 24th against Seattle, with whom they share the Peoria Sports Complex.

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