Last offseason, San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller made so many big and exciting moves that many were calling for him to become the mayor of San Diego. After a disaster of a 2015 season, there are some now calling for him to get out of town. In order to make up for last year’s terrible showing, he needs to be more conservative this winter.
By adding players like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, James Shields, Wil Myers and Craig Kimbrel, Preller improved the roster, but he also raised expectations. That in itself isn’t bad, but when the team didn’t have a proven pitching staff yet, these expectations put pressure on the team that it just couldn’t handle.
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Of course, the lack of pitching depth was proven from start to finish. Shields was decent all year long, but he wasn’t the guy they paid big money for. Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross had disappointing years based on what it appeared they were ready to do in 2015.
Preller’s biggest failure last season, though, was his inability to get anything for free-agents-to-be at the trade deadline. Once it appeared the season was over, he had to cut his losses and he refused to do that. He said that he believed the team could still compete at that point, but that seemed like a bunch of hot air. The team was going nowhere fast.
San Diego did eventually trade outfielder Will Venable via waivers, but that’s the only player they got anything for.
This winter, Preller shouldn’t try to steal the show again, he should add a couple players that could make them contenders within the next couple years.
Two players that would make perfect sense are Gerardo Parra and Yovani Gallardo. Each has the potential to contribute to the franchise for years to come while coming at a discounted price from some of the other top free agents at their positions.
Gerardo Parra could be a nice offseason addition for the Padres. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Parra is a stellar defensive outfielder and broke out offensively for the Brewers and Orioles in 2015, hitting .291 with 14 homers and 51 RBI. He would be an adequate replacement for Justin Upton and will likely only cost $10-12 million a season.
Meanwhile, Gallardo re-established his value this season, emerging as the No. 2 starter for the Rangers. He went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 2015.
Both of these players are just 29 years old, meaning they still have a few years of their prime left. Signing either or both to three or four-year deals could ensure success for the team in a year or two if they make other complementary moves.
Of course, adding these two players isn’t essential, but Preller should be looking at players of the same mold. Young, promising players they can sign for multiple years will be ideal. So this offseason Preller shouldn’t try to make huge splashes again; he should try to fly under the radar.
That just might help the Padres get over their disaster of a 2015 season a little sooner.