Padres Hope to Follow Royals Blueprint
Padres hoping to nurture draft picks into All-Stars. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
So…what does this tell us about the Padres future? First of all, the core of this team position-wise has been around since 2011 or so. The trade before 2013 was the big one – both in changing the attitude of the clubhouse with Rays post-season hero Shields – and expectations of the fans. Kansas City hosted the All Star Game in 2013 and was in contention at the time before falling off, ending 2013 with a record of (86-76 and 7 GB of Detroit) but their first winning record since 2003.
So for the starters, we have 6 of the 10 (counting platoon and DH) that were drafted by the Royals. Two were acquired in a trade for a homegrown pitcher in Zack Greinke. The final two were also trades.
For the rotation, only two were homegrown prospects. One was a blockbuster trade in Shields, and Guthrie was essentially buying low and watching a picture peak at the right time. The bullpen is homegrown with a nasty set-up man in the same Wil Myers trade. Not bad at all.
For the pitching staff the Padres seem pretty set. Jedd Gyorko might be the diamond keystone they need at 2B. Seth Smith might be good enough to anchor an outfield spot, and the hope is that Rymer Liriano can do the same? Beyond that, the Padres have some talent building to do. Hopefully Tommy Medica matures into an Eric Hosmer, with the verdict looking worse every day waiting for Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal to bear the trading of Mat Latos a good one. Of course Hunter Renfroe might be ready sooner than later, not to mention 2014 first round draft pick Trea Turner at shortstop.
Dayton Moore emphasizes “the process”, focusing on speed, defense and pitching in spacious Kauffman Stadium. Hopefully Preller takes note and builds a similar team, not getting homer-happy in a stadium that has proven that’s just not the way.
All this to say when looking at the facts of how the Royals build their team with a similar payroll and how long it took, it’s realistic to think that the Padres may not realistically see pay-dirt until they develop a few more position players, and it will probably take a gutsy trade to work to accelerate and finalize the process. As I pointed out earlier, they are in a better starting point than the Royals were, but it does take patience and some luck that the patience will bear itself out.
My bet would be 2017 is the earliest we will see dividends on anything Preller does. Will the ownership have that kind of patience to see the fruits of his labor will be a whole other question.