Now that 2016 is complete, San Diego fans have a better idea of how well the trade made at the deadline with Boston turned out.
Trades are a staple of rebuilding processes in baseball. For a San Diego Padres organization who has suffered through six consecutive losing seasons, they find themselves in a rebuilding situation. Acquiring young talent that they can develop is their top priority, even if this comes at the expense of some of their veteran players.
In July, there was no doubt that the Padres fell into the seller category as baseball’s trading deadline approached. They sought after young talent, and found it in the form of a trade with the Boston Red Sox. Shipping star reliever Drew Pomeranz to Boston, San Diego received top prospect Anderson Espinoza.
According to many, this splash made by the team was one of few positive aspects of the season. After all, Espinoza is one of the more promising pitching prospects the franchise has had in recent memory. Plus, 27-year-old Pomeranz would serve little benefit to the Padres in future years, especially after his troubles this year, a season in which his ERA ballooned to 4.59. At least at this point, this deadline trade seems to have been well worth it for the Padres, and there is no reason to believe that it will ever be considered differently.
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This also came after an offseason trade prior to 2016’s spring training which sent closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston in exchange for Manuel Margot along with several other prospects, Logan Allen, Javier Guerra, and Carlos Asuaje. This trade, coupled with the deal made at the deadline, reveals not only that Boston has serious troubles with their bullpen, but also that San Diego is willing to sacrifice productive players to take a gamble on youth. While this is a common strategy for teams struggling to stay out of last place, it is one that the Padres have worked to perfection thus far.
Whether or not the James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Melvin Upton, or Matt Kemp trades worked in San Diego’s favor or not has yet to be seen. But what is certain is that the same strategy was implemented in the Pomeranz trade was used to come to these additional trades. And all the Padres know right now is that their trades thus far have turned out well, so what reason is there to believe this trend for an improving Padres team won’t continue?
The balance between talent developed within and talent acquired from elsewhere is a healthy one for San Diego. They have found success in their search for a revamped lineup with both Ryan Schimpf and Hunter Renfroe, as well as with their trades for Espinoza and Margot.
The bottom line is, San Diego is on the right track. This has certainly not been shown yet in terms of wins and losses, and may not even be in 2017. But taking a chance on the young players the Padres have developed and traded for is undeniably the best strategy to rebuilding this organization piece by piece. As a result, years to come will be fun and exciting for fans.