With Brett Wallace opting free agency, the San Diego Padres have one of the youngest rosters in baseball history. With no player over the age of 30, youth is plentiful for the team.
The San Diego Padres are about to enter the Winter Meetings with no veteran presence on the roster whatsoever. Not shockingly, the 40-man roster which was just finalized includes no player over the age of 30.
A young ball club in 2016 has only gotten younger. Free agents over 30 include Jon Jay, Clayton Richard, Edwin Jackson, and now, Brett Wallace. After outrighting Wallace to AAA in order to protect four players from the rule 5 draft, the 30-year-old elected free agency instead.
Now, with a full 40-man roster, the team is one of the youngest in history. Granted, the final moves made were only designed to protect four of their brightest young prospects from being selected by other teams. General manager A.J. Preller certainly doesn’t foresee the Opening Day roster being identical to the way the team is currently constructed.
Still, the bulk of this group is going to remain together. Even in Preller’s best efforts, it is no guarantee that any of their veteran free agents will be persuaded to return to an organization not ready to contend this season. Usually veteran players are interested in little more than winning, making the challenge of acquiring one through free agency even more difficult.
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This is why going for a veteran through a trade would be a better option for a team not willing to pay a ton. It is a fine line though, as the Padres would like to preserve their youth which will become their core in a few years.
Losing all of their veterans would be devastating to the Padres’ hopes in 2017. Rarely is there a baseball club which finds success with such a young group of players. Having a 40-man roster entirely of this nature is revealing as to what San Diego’s expectations should be in the coming seasons.
Even so, the latest news comes as little surprise to fans. After all, Wallace was not much more than a utility corner infielder. The Padres clearly didn’t experience a steep drop off in talent.
But having no player over the age of 30 before the Winter Meetings undeniably puts into perspective what San Diego is up against. No matter what happens this offseason, youth will highlight what is expected to be another rebuilding year in 2017.