Padres Brief History Of Free Agent Chasing


Now I wasn’t born yet during the Ray Kroc ownership of the 1970s  and early 80s in San Diego, but recently, the Padres haven’t been much of contenders when it comes to spending money on free agency. This off-season, that could finally change. According to U-T San Diego’s Kirk Kenney, The Padres haven’t had much luck landing Hall of Fame players in the past, even with ownership willing to spend whatever it took to get that player. But there has been some success in the past also, most recently in the 1990’s and 2000’s. MLB Trade Rumors brings up past success of the Padres bringing in free agents and resigning players to help the Padres. 

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Here are some of the one’s that got away.

–Catfish Hunter: Owner Ray Kroc was willing to give the Cy Young award-winning pitcher anything he wanted. Hunter wanted $4 million, Kroc agreed, but at the last minute the New York Yankees snagged him away. What could’ve been with the combo of Randy Jones and Catfish Hunter on the same staff?

–Andy Messersmith: The Padres offered $1.1 Million to the former Dodger pitcher in 1976 but the Atlanta Braves outbid the Padres. Kroc offered, but Messersmith was strict with $1.2 million. Kroc told him to kick rocks.

–Reggie Jackson: Yes, THE Reggie Jackson could’ve been in the same lineup with another Hall of Famer Dave Winfield in 1976 (the two would be teammates for a couple of seasons in the Bronx), but take two from the New York Yankees, they struck again on the Baltimore free agent and signed him.

–Pete Rose: The all-time hit king and exiled baseball legend actually took a photo with a Padres hat on.. and with seven other club hats as well. He didn’t seem to crave San Diego enough and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, later winning a World Series with the Phils in 1980.

Now let’s look at some of the successful signing players:

–Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace: Hall of Famer Fingers came from the legendary Oakland Athletics teams that were famed in the 1970s and outfielder Gene Tenace played from 1977 to 1980 leading the team in walks in 1977.

–Steve Garvey: A key player in part of the 1984 National League Champion team coming down the I-5 from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Garvey hit a crucial game winning home run in game 4 of the 1984 NLCS leading to the Padres first World Series appearance.

–Graig Nettles and Rich Gossage: Coming from the New York Yankees in 1983 Gossage was signed first then the following year in 1984, the Padres traded pitcher Dennis Rasmussen for third baseman Graig Nettles.Both Gossage and Nettles were huge contributors as well to the 1984 Padres.

Two players that helped the Padres after resigning their contracts were in 1996 with Outfielder Greg Vaughn (hitting 50 home runs in 1998) and Outfielder Brian Giles in 2005 (Part of two N.L. West champion teams).

The Padres now have a chance to shake up the N.L. West in 2015 by signing Pablo Sandoval or Yasmany Tomás. Do the Padres repeat the past on missing some great players or will they finally break through?

Stay tuned.

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