Recently the Mighty 1090, or XX or Sports Talk Mighty XX 1090 or whatever they call themselves, issued a question for callers: If you were the new owners of the San Diego Padres and could add an extra $20 million to next years payroll, how would you spend it?
It’s a solid question and really made me sit and think of what I would do if I were in fact the new owner. My first thought was free hot dogs and cheaper beer, but that’s just the Clairemont in me talking. After making a long list that ended up looking like a mix between an 8-year old working on cursive and an odd life-like drawing of a young Bip Roberts, I narrowed it down to three things.
Two of these ideas will not be new ideas and one of them will surely make the Citizens of the Internet claim I’m unaware of ‘how things really work’. However, I trudge on awaiting the scourge of the web that might just follow.
IDEA #1: We need to find an elite hitter.
This is nothing new. It seems like every year the talking heads, the bloggers and even the casual fan find themselves asking the simple question, “Who are opposing pitchers actually going to be scared of in this lineup?” Okay, maybe the casual fan adds some more colorful words in to that question, but it’s all the same. The argument for this idea would be the fact that we just locked up Carlos Quentin for a couple of years. That would be a good argument, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s an aging, injury-prone player who can’t be expected to carry an entire offense in a pitchers park all on his own. Your counter to my rebuttal would probably include, “But, what about Headley and the progression of Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal into legitimate power hitters?” Totally agree that those are all positives, but first things first – you gotta lock up Headley (I’d even set aside a little of that $20 million to start those extension talks.). As far as Yonder and Yasmani are concerned – they’re unproven. They’ve both displayed some great power and a great eye for the ball, but they’re sample size is way too small to really rely on. So, that leaves us to search out a solid bat in free agency, as I would not suggest we trade away any young talent we’re currently fielding. We would make some noise in the off-season to let the world know we still in fact exist. Do what the Nationals have done the last couple of years. Throw around big numbers to big names. Even if we don’t land the biggest name people will still understand that the Padres are players. Just for funsies (Yes, I wrote ‘funsies’. I’m not above terrible decisions.) here is a list of the most attractive 2013 free agents who play positions that could be upgraded:
Melky Cabrera – He would be a great pickup, but I think he’ll be looking for more money than his age would suggest he’s worth.
David Wright – Someone we would never get, but would be a lot of fun to go after. We’d move Chase to the outfield. Even if we can’t get him, it would benefit us to be mentioned in the running.
Nick Swisher – Could be fun to have a guy like that in the clubhouse and he has power to the corners, which could translate into nice power numbers in PETCO.
Robinson Cano – It would be fun to throw money at him, although it’s almost certain we would never get him.
B.J. Upton – This is the guy I actually think we should go for and could actually get. His numbers will earn him a nice payday, but not one that would take us out of the running and handcuff extra moves. In my mind he’s a guy to go ‘all in’ for and a change of scenery would really help.
Who we’d likely end up with: Andruw Jones.
IDEA #2: We need an elite pitcher.
This doesn’t mean we need an ace, but it’d be nice to have one of those too. Some guy who we can rely on to go out every fifth day and dominate. Cory Luebke, Andrew Cashner, Clayton Richard and hopefully Casey Kelly will fill-in the rotation next season, but we need that one guy who could really strike some fear into hitters. And honestly there is a long list of guys who could be very happy to play in PETCO and we could actually afford them. Again, even if we can’t afford them it’s still nice to be mentioned in the running. You know, like being nominated for an Oscar or having the girl of your dreams tell you, “If it wasn’t for Danny, I would have married you.”
Zack Greinke – He’s the prize here, but he’s likely to stay in Anaheim. Or somewhere else that will give him more money than $20 million.
Joe Blanton – Here’s a guy who could be lights out in San Diego and is in the price range we could potentially be throwing around. Will definitely get other offers, but I can’t imagine anything more attractive than a pitchers park and being considered an ace.
R.A. Dickey – He should re-sign with the Mets and if they don’t do everything they can to re-sign him, then the Mets are very very stupid people and deserve to watch him sign with the Padres.
Hiroki Kuroda, Colby Lewis and Dan Haren – All these guys would benefit big time by coming to a place like San Diego, but they will likely look for more money and higher profile contracts elsewhere. Although, they really won’t be worth those contracts, and will end up with lesser numbers in another park.
Shaun Marcum – Now, this is the guy I actually think we should go for and could actually get. He plays in a small market and no doubt wants off the sinking S.S. Brew Crew. He is a little low key and will really benefit from the spacious confines of PETCO.
Who we’d likely end up with: Edwin Jackson.
IDEA #3: New training staff.
I don’t know how much that costs or if there is some way we can cancel our contract with the current staff, and spend that money elsewhere. I think it might be better than the two above ideas and could end up saving us money and players in the very near future. I seem to remember a time when the Padres training staff was the envy of the league. Pitchers and hitters alike praised their efforts and heralded them as ‘career saviors’. It seems that high praise has gone the way of the buffalo, and in the last two seasons we’ve seen more players on the DL than I can remember. In the first month of this season we had almost an entirely different pitching rotation than what was announced opening day. What in the world is going on? As of this season over half of our starting position players and pitchers have been sidelined with some injury. It’s ridiculous and as a fan I’m freaking sick of it. I know it can’t all be blamed on the trainers and the strength and conditioning coaches, but it can’t all be blamed on the players either. The training staff is hired for one reason, and that’s to keep the team healthy and ready to play 162 games. We live in a time in which science and personal health has never been more advanced, but athletes are constantly tearing ligaments and muscles and tendons. You think Walter Johnson ever thought about Tommy John surgery, or a sore shoulder? Nope. But, Tim Stauffer sure thinks about it. Often. Whatever the case may be it seems like the San Diego Padres are in need of better technology, better methods and a better group of people working the massage table and rehab facilities in their locker room.
These are the three ideas I came up with and love them or hate them they make a lot of sense. One thing’s for sure, $20 million won’t fix all the problems with this team and I hope no one would expect it to. Hell, $30 million wouldn’t, but at least it would be a start. New owners bring new hope and a new plan. I’m looking forward to that plan and hopefully an extended payroll to get Padres fans interested again.
So, what would you do with an extra $20 million of Padres payroll?
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