Last offseason, San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller decided to aggressive and add quality players at nearly every position. This drained their prospect pool and ended up not working out at the major-league level. This offseason, he’s selling and that’s a good thing for Padres fans.
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He has already traded Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel, which cleared enough cap for the team to make a significant move in free agency. That allows them to be competitive in 2016, while still looking toward the future.
The reason Kimbrel and Benoit were disposable is that the difference between quality of relief pitchers is muted in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. This winter, they can go after a few relievers who will make less money than the guys they’re replacing and be nearly as effective.
With renewed salary flexibility, the Padres might be able to make a run at someone like Chris Davis. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Qualifying offers extended to Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, which were rejected will help the team get draft-pick compensation if they’re unable to re-sign them. The team could possibly re-sign Kennedy, but the chances of retaining Upton are slim to none.
Basically, with all this turnover, San Diego is giving itself some options. Now it’s up to Preller to fill in the holes they can now afford to fill after recent trades. Last offseason ended up being a disaster in hindsight, but Preller can make up for it by continuing to make savvy moves this winter. He just might be able to save this team by 2016.