The San Diego Padres aren’t trying to use a slow-build process to rebuild their team. New general manager A.J. Preller is charging out of the gate. He was a scouting director for the Texas Rangers for the last decade. During his time there, Texas used their farm system to trade for MLB-ready bats and arms.
He appears to be trying to use the same method in San Diego.
The Padres have already traded for former All-Stars Matt Kemp & Justin Upton, former top prospects Wil Myers & Will Middlebrooks and acquired underrated talents like Derek Norris and Brandon Morrow.
Can the San Diego Padres instantly contend with the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West or will they need a year to tinker with their current roster?
When I read the Padres were wheeling and dealing at the owner’s meetings, I was shocked. The team hasn’t really spent a ton since their first few years at PETCO Park…and they weren’t breaking the bank then.
The players they acquired won’t cost the Padres much money. Matt Kemp was by far the most expensive player, but the Dodgers are sending $32 million towards the $107 million left on his deal. If he returns to his 2011 form, it’s a bargain. Unfortunately for San Diego, during a physical, Kemp was diagnosed with arthritic hips. They still went through with the deal, but for an NL team (who doesn’t have the luxury of have a DH spot), it’s a huge red flag. The rest of their offseason haul are mostly on pre-arbitration cheap deals.
The deal I was most impressed with was the trade for Justin Upton. They did unload plenty of prospects, but only one pitcher, Max Fried. I saw him pitch for Single-A Fort Wayne Tin Caps and he’s legit. It’s a huge win for San Diego who has trouble attracting power hitters since they play at PETCO. They did move in the fences before the 2013 season, but it hasn’t made a huge difference. It could be that their roster wasn’t able to take advantage of it since players like Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley were dealing with injuries on and off last season. Upton has played in Arizona and Atlanta, neither park is known for the amount of home runs. He should be just fine.
As far as Wil Myers and Will Middlebrooks are concerned, both probably needed a change of scenery. Myers dealt with injuries all last year and with Joe Maddon leaving and Andrew Friedman leaving to be the Dodgers team president, it was a great time to leave Tampa Bay. Middlebrooks, who might be best known for being Jenny Dell’s fiancé, had a rough couple years in Boston. He was brought up and sent back down a few times. He definitely needed a new home. The Padres missed out on Pablo Sandoval and Middlebrooks should get a shot at the starting job at third-base.
Derek Norris is a great signing. He excelled in a platoon in Oakland. He can hit for average and power. He could actually end up being in a platoon with Yonder Alonso at first base.
San Diego might not be a World Series contender this year, but Preller is putting together an interesting team. I feel sorry for the Colorado Rockies who has to face the Dodgers, Giants and Padres on a regular basis.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.