San Diego Padres: Finding a Diamond in the Rough
The strategy the San Diego Padres seem to be implementing this winter thus far is clear. But in order for it to work as planned, they will need at least some players to exceed expectations.
General manager A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres are beginning to make moves. Starting with the Rule 5 draft which concluded the winter meetings, the team’s front office acquired three promising prospects.
Then, they added a $3 million dollar deal with Cuban right-hander Michel Baez on Monday. This made the team even younger and the minor league system even deeper, a formula which seems to be what the team is banking on, at least for now.
The most recent news involves yet another pitching acquisition, as the team claimed 25-year-old right-hander Zach Lee off waivers.
Of course, the Padres are not an organization that is going to break the bank. Plus, a lot of these minor moves that seem insignificant to fans are made by every ball club.
But for San Diego, being reluctant to sign a big name pitcher is not a result of incompetent leadership. It is a strategy in itself.
There still isn’t a player over the age of 30 on the 40-man roster. If Preller really wanted one, the team would have gotten one. If they wanted to invest in a more well known pitcher than Christian Friedrich or Luis Perdomo, they would have found the means by which to acquire him.
The Padres haven’t though, and it isn’t because they lack the ability to do so. Their strategy in solidifying their minor leagues and emphasizing youth has two objectives. One, to build a young core for the future, and two, to find a diamond in the rough that no one saw coming.
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Building the young core is the obvious one. What fans often overlook is the effort to find the player who exceeds expectations.
Thankfully, not everything in baseball is as calculated as many make it out to be. Stats only go so far to break down a player’s abilities. Therefore, no one can put a calculated value on any player. This is the job of baseball front offices, but they can never achieve any sort of consistent accuracy doing this.
Every baseball player is an investment to an organization. The team’s goal is to get more out of the player than they pay for him. If it worked any other way, the clubs with the most money would win every time.
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So for San Diego, they figure that placing low value on these players gives them the opportunity to shine beyond expectations.
Naturally, this suits the Padres well since they don’t have the resources that the Dodgers or Yankees might. This probably influenced the decision to build this club in this way, but it shouldn’t belittle it. Preller, a very capable baseball mind, would not be going in this direction if he wasn’t confident that it will work out in the long run.
Plus, with the way this organization has used their resources in their recent history, an outlook like this is somewhat refreshing. Craig Kimbrel didn’t work out, and neither did Matt Kemp.
Next: Minor League Pitching Depth Added, Baez Signed
So there may be no splash moves for the fans to get excited about. While this may not be the conventional way to run a baseball club, it is San Diego’s best bet considering the circumstances. And if their scouts find the right players, the team could reap the benefits of discovering a diamond in the rough in the near future.