Padres in the Changing NL West Landscape

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Remember when the Padres could win the NL West by being 2 games above .500? My how times have changed. The question now becomes if the Padres will ever be able to compete in the division that seems to be getting harder not easier.

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The Dodgers finally got ownership stability and started spending real money. Last year their payroll was a whopping $273 Million. The Padres of course by contrast was around $93 as reported by surepayroll.com.

The Giants came in around $169M and of course have won the World Series 3 out of the last 6 years. Their fans will be quick to point out that they are “due” in 2016, though so far their only big move has been signing Jeff Samardzija to a 5 year contract after his worst season in the major leagues last season.

The Diamondbacks had a decent season last season. Just a little better than the Padres record-wise, and that was after paying a lot of money for Yasmany Tomas prior to the season. Yet there was more going on underneath the surface. Paul Goldschmidt had another quality season, hitting 33 home runs and .321. AJ Pollock hit 20 home runs playing stellar center field defense winning a Gold Glove award for his work.

David Peralta and Ender Inciarte both had coming out season for the D’backs which earned Inciarte a trade to Atlanta, yet the D’backs scored Shelby Miller in that one despite also giving up their #1 Draft Pick to get it done. When they signed Zack Greinke to a contract worth over $200M it made news, but adding Miller while taking Greinke from LA might immediately put their pitching staff ahead of the Dodgers.

Speaking of Arizona, they might be a team the Padres can learn from in rebuilding efforts. They started with Paul Goldschmidt to anchor around, and with Dave Stewart as their GM and Tony LaRussa brought in as Chief Baseball Officer, they bring a baseball wealth that appears to be tops in he game. Granted – nothing has worked yet. Granted, most insiders feel the D’backs got fleeced in the Shelby Miller trade as far as the future goes, but…

If they are able to leverage that trade into a World Championship themselves in 2016 – does much beyond that matter?

Next: Bullpen support options

Yet for the D’back pessimists they have no further to look than the 2015 Padres, who traded away youth of their own for one year of Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, and a Wil Myers who played in 66 games. Now they appear as intent as trading away other older more expensive additions to rebuild and bring back some minor league talent – like the talent they traded away less than 365 days before.

The NL West is loaded with some of the best pitchers in the game right now. Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke to start. Jeff Samardzija looks to prove he one of the top pitchers – and the Giants are certainly betting on it. Tyson Ross was an All Star in 2014 and had a solid 2015, but looks to really cement himself on a higher tier in 2016.

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