There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres have a long way to go. But despite this, fans can get excited about the youth that will be on display in 2017.
After briefly trying to create a winning team on the fly, the San Diego Padres have re-set the franchise GPS in the direction of building a winner from the bottom up. As teams like the Houston Astros have proven, the fastest road to the playoffs takes a detour through baseball futility.
Unfortunately the Padres’ attempt to win it all in 2015 cost the franchise low budget talent as well as a boatload of money for players no longer on the roster, such as Matt Kemp.
However, General Manager A.J. Preller’s recent draft and international acquisitions (to say nothing of the whopping $60 million investment), demonstrate a commitment to a rebuild (although the Padres’ front office bristles at that word).
Some of those moves will pay off, but many of the players may never set foot in Petco Park. Prospects are just that with no guarantees of success in the minor leagues let alone the big time. And, it will take several years to judge the talent so far assembled.
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In the meantime, the Padres of 2017 have little chance of even playing .500 baseball, especially in light of the competition in the National League West. However, fans can look forward to watching young players like Travis Jankowski, Cory Spangenberg, Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges at Petco Park instead of overpriced veterans.
Plus, there’s intrinsic value in having a core group of players moving through the minor leagues together and ultimately reaching the majors. Preller wisely waited until the El Paso Chihuahuas finished the season – and won the Pacific Coast League championship – to add Hedges, Renfroe, Manny Margot and Carlos Asuaje to the major league roster.
In 2015 the Kansas City Royals won the World Series with 13 players either drafted by the team (like Eric Hosmer and Greg Holland) or signed internationally (like Salvador Perez and Yordano Ventura). The MVP of that winning team? Salvador Perez.
If the rebuild works, the Padres’ Salvador Perez could be headed to Lake Elsinore in a couple of months.