Padres Will Commit Resources To Improve
General manager A.J. Preller handed out more than $300 million to Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and James Shields over the past four offseasons. But given the low salaries of the rest of the Padres' roster, the organization has financial flexibility that could come in handy if Preller travels the trade route to upgrade a team that has posted eight straight losing seasons.
The farm system runs as deep as any other in the game, and the surfeit of young talent means that several prospects must be added the 40-man roster in November to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. The list includes righthanders Chris Paddack and Anderson Espinoza, catcher Austin Allen, outfielder Edward Olivares and third baseman Ty France.
The outfield is logjammed with Myers and a cast of young players that includes the powerful Franmil Reyes, tooled-up Franchy Cordero and front office favorites Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe.
There simply isn’t room for everyone.
"I think the good thing from our standpoint,” Preller said, "is we feel like we have some talent throughout the organization, we feel like we have some talent at different levels of the minor leagues, and I feel like we’re going to have some financial flexibility, because a lot of the players are younger players.
"And we’re at that point from a plan standpoint where we’re going to have to supplement from the outside—be it the free agent or trade route.
"We’ll look to do that in the next few months.”
As far as free agency goes, the Padres let the market come to them when James Shields ($75 million) and Eric Hosmer ($144 million) signed as free agents. Myers, meanwhile, signed a six-year, $83 million extension before the 2017 season, more than two years after the Padres used their farm system—Trea Turner and Joe Ross—to trade for him and lefthander Jose Castillo.
One focus this offseason will be adding veteran presence to a rotation that ranked last in the National League with a 5.09 ERA. The club's rotation will only get younger in coming seasons as prospects Paddack, Cal Quantrill, Logan Allen and Michel Baez push for spots.
Again, not everyone in that group will be part of the championship push in San Diego.
"In building the farm system,” Preller said, "a big part of it is the last 12 months, any time an established player has been put on the trade market, we’ve been part of those discussions. We’ve had other teams reaching out to us and wanting to tap into guys we have in our system. That will be no different this offseason.
"We’ll try to evaluate the guys in our system versus what we’re able to acquire and see if it makes sense for us both in the short term and long term and go from there.”