The big fish this off-season will be Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas and a lot of teams are interested. The 23-year-old corner outfield slugger is projected to garner a contract of about $100 million dollars, which would make him the highest paid Cuban import in history. As you may already know, the Padres are very interested in bringing in possibly the next Cuban superstar and they have watched him in a private workout recently. General Manager A.J. Preller will be looking to make a splash in his first off-season at the helm of the Padres, and many expect a significant bump in payroll. Friars faithful… Yasmany Tomas is your guy.
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Oh, I’m not just talking about the significant upgrade Tomas would provide to the Padres lineup. Number three hitter on Opening Day, power threat in the lineup, a right fielder with a plus arm who could possibly hit over 30 home runs even in the large dimensions of Petco Park. I know all that. That is the obvious part. But the Padres signing Tomas would serve another purpose and it is perhaps even more exciting than what his bat can provide.
Tomas choosing San Diego would morph the Padres into a team that has been irrelevant for quite some time now into a team everyone wants to watch. We saw it in Texas when all everyone wanted to know was “What did Yu Darvish do?” In Oakland the buzz was “What did Yoenis Cespedes do?” This season the question was “What did Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka do?” When these guys played it became a must watch game. Let’s face it, the Padres haven’t been must watch in a long, long time and they need to find a way to get back to that.
Here is the possible turning point in Padres’ baseball. Do they take a $100 million dollar gamble on a possible star and risk failure or decide to invest that money elsewhere? How much are they willing to spend to regain the spotlight? Tomas could be a superstar and help to make San Diego relevant again, or he could fail to transition to American baseball. Will they let him slip away to the likes of the Phillies, Rangers or another one of the very interested parties? What will A.J. Preller and the Padres choose to do? A few years from now we may see this as the off-season that brought the Friars back to the promise land.