This time last year the San Diego Padres already had a pretty good idea of what their team was going to look like for the 2015 season. This season, they still have more questions than actual answers.
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They acquired Matt Kemp via trade December 11th, 2014, though officially the trade didn’t complete until December 18th after some drama over the physical results.
Wil Myers was acquired in a three team trade December 18th.
Pretty power packed few weeks of December. They would go on to add James Shields through free agency and trade away their surplus outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin in exchange for the other Upton and Craig Kimbrel on the eve of the season starting.
This year by contrast has been much different. Gone already is Kimbrel from last year’s addition. Gone as well is Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko, the only two starters who made it through last season’s trading purge.
Ian Kenendy and Justin Upton have already turned down the Padres qualifying offers but remain unsigned on the free agency market. While some of the biggest free agency names like Zack Greinke, Jason Heyward and David Price have signed, other unexpected trades like the Braves sending Andrelton Simmons to the Angels have also gone down. Meanwhile Yoenis Cespedes who just led the Mets to the World Series is still unsure of where he will call 2016 home after being traded 3 times in the last 24 months.
So while it would be inaccurate to say that the market has been slow per-se, it certainly seems more teams are players in the market which also has had an unexpected downshift in some of the activity. Except for a few teams like the Braves who are clearly in full rebuild mode, many other teams are like the Padres, middling around somewhere between rebuilding and holding out hope for competing in 2016.
Is A.J. Preller just waiting for the right deal, or still trying to figure out the plan?