Padres Winter Meetings Wish List


Padres fans hope that A.J. Preller is as active in Year 2 of his Winter Meetings tenure as he was in Year 1. Of course this year there is hope some of those moves turn out differently than the first years edition. As Preller and the Padres top executives head to Nashville, Tennessee the list of positions needed to be filled at the major league level seems to be growing, not shrinking, yet Preller is confident in what he can accomplish.

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As reported by Corey Brock, Preller isn’t focused on a specific direction as much as fielding a competitive team now and into the future:

“The way we’re looking at it right now, the next couple of weeks, there’s going to be movement. We’re [still] looking to put a championship team on the field next year. The focus isn’t really on, hey, are we rebuilding, reloading? We’re going to look to compete and put a good team on the field.”

Fans have questions to this strategy and looking at the haul brought in last year and arguably two of the three “successes” in Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton will not be with the Padres in 2016. Preller has stated that the Padres might add a piece or two via free agency, but not likely to break the bank with one large acquisition.

That said, with Wil Myers moving to first base and Yonder Alonso gone, the team might look for a left-handed outfielder and Jason Heyward is still available.

Starting pitching is another huge area of need for the Padres. With the Diamondbacks adding Zack Greinke, it gives them, the Dodgers in Clayton Kershaw, and the Giants in Madison Bumgarmer with some of the absolute top pitchers in the game. Can the Padres James Shields compete head-to-head all year long with that trio and come out on top? Historically yes to a certain extent- but only if he comes down on his alarming home run rate from 2015.

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Filling the shortstop position of course is another need that feels like it has always been a need from a team that once upon a time drafted Ozzie Smith. From a payroll side of things the trades of Benoit and Kimbrel in particular frees up some payroll and there are rumors that James Shields and the $63M remaining on his contract could be traded this winter.

Last year the Padres went into the season with surplus starting pitching and a few longshots. When Brandon Morrow made the fifth starter spot out of spring training it was seen as a hopefully sign of depth. However, a month into that experiment he went down for the year and the Padres mopped up September with some rookie call-ups. It is a high probability that this year’s fifth starter spot goes to either Colin Rea or Casey Kelly, but whether or not they have back-ups after that remains to be seen. Robbie Erlin‘s sub-par 2015 in AAA was a disappointment after showing promise on the major league club in 2014.

Major League Baseball is flush with cash right now from TV deals and the last few seasons have been wild with free agency action. The Diamondbacks deal for over $200M shows this acutely, but even the Giants shelling out nearly $100M on Jeff Samardzija who had an ERA over 5 last season shows that teams are bidding in a competitive market to stay on top of each other as much as making the smartest decisions. With some patience and discipline, Preller and the Padres might be able to come out on top by the end of their week in the Music City.