FSFauxWM-Balancing The Padres Budget


It has been an exciting week for Padres fans with the GM Winter Meetings going on in their backyard. Of course, “winter” in San Diego means under 70 degrees and possibly having to wear shoes instead of flip-flops so there is that perspective. Yet these meetings the Padres have actually been in the middle of talks for some big, game-changing names.  Pablo Sandoval for one the Padres have made an offer to become their new third baseman, and unfortunately, it appears that Sandoval is headed for Beantown to partner up with Hanley Ramirez. Cuban Yasmany Tomas has been linked in major ways to the club, and they have even been inquiring about Braves outfielder Justin Upton who will be a free agent after 2015. 

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This week we also took part in a Fansided Faux Winter Meetings Scenario, where myself and fellow writer Devin Sparks played the role of Co-Gm, signing Yasmany Tomas for over $100M, finding a taker for Carlos Quentin and his contract in the American League, pulling off a trade with the Braves for Chris Johnson and Luis Avilan, and in our blockbuster, traded Andrew Cashner and Alex Torres for Yoenis Cespedes. While those are all pretty valid moves and would dramatically change the face of the Padres, we also quickly realized there are some holes in the logic too.

For example, we are still stuck with Cameron Maybin and Will Venable contracts for another season at a cost of around $11M. We were quite proud to maximize our payroll by shedding Joaquin Benoit and Quentin, but all in all we would still require a payroll increase of just over $7M a year to make “our” team happen. Not horrible, considering what we were able to get and with the hope of production that would increase.

Of course for a team like the Padres that is the big gamble. We hope that Yasmani Tomas would be the next Jose Abreu or Yasiel Puig, but he could just be another Cameron Maybin. We hope that Chris Johnson would continue to hit close to .300 year in and year out but he could end up being another (more expensive) Chase Headley.

Other General Manager’s aren’t idiots, which makes long-term bad contracts that much tougher to sell off to other teams too. Everyone knows that Carlos Quentin isn’t going to play a ton of games in the outfield, is paid too much to just be a DH, and in one more year will likely be had for a much lower price tag.  Benoit was a great piece of the team last year and still could be this year for the Padres, but as he approaches 40-years-old, every team is worried that the next elbow strain or quadriceps tweak will be the last of his career. You can’t just “dump” bad contracts in the world or faux world it turns out.

All that to say, it is exciting to see the Padres stretch themselves both financially and in the free agent market that we haven’t seen much of before. This isn’t them going out and “taking a flier” on Josh Johnson last year. This is the Padres making prime-time news on players that many other richer teams actually want. Whether they get them and how those contracts will work out we will just have to wait and see.