The Padres are awash with trade rumors, with one website listing up to 9 players that could be traded away from the team by August 1st. Can Padres fans expect to be happy or angry at the end of it all?
The Padres roster is still full largely of big acquisitions from the winter of 2014/2015, with major exceptions in the rotation as James Shields is gone and injuries taking many of the others. Will the Padres be able to turn this around into a positive for the future?
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It is hard to please everyone with a trade, and many others take years to reap the full rewards. Think about the Padres own Wil Myers – touted as the top trade prospect in baseball as recently as 2012 – for the Royals. The Royals traded him to the Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis – and used those two to get to (2014) and win the World Series(2015). A win – right?
The Rays got a Rookie of the Year out that trade from Myers in 2013 before injuries hurt him in 2014 and they shipped him out to the Padres. The Padres gave up Joe Ross and Trea Turner as part of that three team trade to get Myers. Both of those players are making or ready to make an impact for Washington, while Myers after a hurt season in 2015 is going great here in 2016 as the Padres best player.
So the question is: if you are a Rays fan was the first trade a success? What about the second one? If you are a Padres fan and the Padres keep Myers for a few more years but don’t make the playoffs while Turner and Ross star for Washington – was getting him a bad trade?
Baseball fans have short and long memories – and for every trade the Padres do right (Yonder Alonso for Drew Pomeranz!) fans remember the ones that went horribly wrong (Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner, Adrian Gonzalez for Casey Kelly). I believe a general rule of thumb is 2 and 5 years. Some trades are clear after two years, and then re-evaluate at 5 years. Example: After this second year I think getting Wil Myers is a good trade for the Padres. If by 5 years he is the centerpiece of a team fighting for the NL West title – it is a great trade.
The challenge is to find the right balance of short term and long term gain. As the Padres rumors continue to circulate – I am optimistic that for once the Padres have a General Manager and ownership group who is looking at both options. Despite the recent outburst by Ron Fowler that made the Padres look horrible in the prelude to the James Shields trade – I think this a group more than any other ownership group in recent San Diego sports history. For a city that was recently “promoted” to most miserable sports base in the country – this is a good thing.
I don’t think the Padres will trade 9 players this hot stove season, but failing to trade at least a few players like Jon Jay, Derek Norris, and perhaps even Andrew Cashner before he hits free agency would be a mistake. General Manager A.J. Preller held back last season to get draft picks, and made the most of it to build up minor league pitching this year. Now is the trade to continue getting a few more top shelf prospects and build a consistent pipeline of players coming to San Diego over the next couple of years and cleaning out certain positions to get the prospects like Hunter Renfroe into the majors.
So Padres fans – remember that most trades don’t have immediate judgement either way. With every trade made in 2016 – let’s look again in 2018, and then 2021. Here’s to hoping the ownership team has the same perspective to help bring a sustainable winning team to San Diego.