Disjointed Thoughts On The Padres Offseason

Here are some thoughts on the Padres’ offseason, formatted kind of like Twitter but with fewer abbreviations.

Other people deserve credit for acquiring the players AJ Preller traded away

There’s a reason the Braves were willing to trade the current Padres’ best hitter for a prospect recovering from surgery, it’s that Max Fried is a good enough prospect to still be valuable.

In other words, none of AJP’s trades felt like he pulled off a steal. They were fair trades. Yes, it’s awesome he could re-make the roster and keep Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler, and Hunter Renfroe, but the Padres also gave up big league growth assets to do so. Preller was able to do what he did, in part because Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes toiled away collecting young players and saving money in years past. If Josh Byrnes “did something” by signing Edwin Jackson, for instance, Matt Kemp probably isn’t a Padre today.

This behavior isn’t sustainable. I’m fawning over Kemp’s press interactions as much as everyone else, but AJ Preller isn’t yet a rockstar GM. He’ll be a rockstar GM when he can put together a year or three of successful amateur acquisitions, because the ability to spot value where his competitors can’t is where GMs become successful.

The Padres gave up talent, but they also gave up years of control

Here are two tables I sort of arbitrarily chose players to include on. Players out:

No. of years under team control
Max Fried 6
Joe Ross 6
Trea Turner 6
Yasmani Grandal 4
Jesse Hahn 6
Joe Wieland 4
Burch Smith 6
Rene Rivera 3
Zach Eflin 6
Total 47

Players in:

No. of years under team control
Matt Kemp 4
Will Middlebrooks 4
Derek Norris 4
Wil Myers 5
Tim Federowicz 5
Justin Upton 1
Total 23

Yeah, Jake Bauers is no Wil Myers, talent is the most important. But the years of control are worth considering too.

The Fangraphs guys’ analysis is important

There are good reasons to listen to what the Fangraphs guys have to say. They’re smart, well informed, and base their thinking from a neutral point of view, which can be tough for us Padre fan homers to do.

It’s not fair to water down what they’ve written, but I’m going to anyway. Very generally, the Fangraphs guys don’t think the Padres improved enough in the short term to justify the long term cost of their moves. In fairness to all, a lot was written before other moves were made, including the James Shields signing. Although this wasn’t.

In any case, it’s a reasonable conclusion. It might be true. But here’s the thing:

The Fangraphs guys can’t understand is what it was like being a Padres fan the last 15 years

It’s complicated to make judgements about what does and doesn’t justify the costs of the Padres’ offseason. Analysts probably haven’t worked in an office or lived in a dorm in their town where most everyone roots for a different baseball team. They probably haven’t watched games in their hometown stadium half full of opposing fans. Sure, other teams have been bad, but San Diego is unique in a lot of ways. These things can change the dynamic of what is and isn’t justified for a baseball team.

Padres fans are coming out of the woodwork

A lot of people have probably experienced this, it’s been so much fun. Everyone wants to talk Padres. I’ve gotten texts from friends I haven’t seen in years. The city is excited about the Padres. I am too.

There is a little voice in the back of my head I have to ignore. But that’s ok. It’s baseball. Play hard and have fun. And take a few risks.

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  • Sac Bunt Chris

    I will add that I think the James Shields deal was a good one. I like Preller’s patience and negotiating skills to work with a player who wanted to be in San Diego and made it happen.