The San Diego Padres made a big splash in 2015 by acquiring first baseman Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Looking back after a season and a half, there are reasons to raise questions about the move.
By signing first baseman Wil Myers to a 6-year extension for over $80 million, the San Diego Padres pre-empted his arbitration years and made a statement to fans. Most of the money comes due in 2019 and later, at which point the front office has declared that the team should be in a position to contend.
Of course, this goal depends upon multiple variables, including injuries to key players and continued development of players both in the major leagues now and expected to arrive by the magic year. Both apply to Myers as first base is a relatively new position for him and because of his injury history.
In 2015, the Padres entrusted center field to Myers with miserable results (-9 DRS and -57 UZR/150, according to MLB Trade Rumors). At first base, he faced a learning curve but fared much better defensively than he had in the outfield throughout his pro career.
Offensively, Myers flourished in the first half of the 2016 season but tailed off toward the end. Overall he batted .259 with a .797 OPS. Additionally, he hit 28 home runs, stole 28 bases, and drove in 94 runs.
Myers has become a fan favorite with his dynamic play, infectious enthusiasm and just a touch of goofiness. Still the question remains: did the Padres give up too much for Myers?
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Less than six months after he was hired, A.J. Preller traded Joe Ross and Trea Turner (proclaimed by Bryce Harper to be “the fastest white boy” he’s ever seen) to the Nationals. Turner had been a first round draft pick in 2014 and was coveted by Nats’ General Manager Mike Rizzo. Preller gave up a shortstop (a premium position) and a pitcher for a first baseman.
Since former General Manager Sandy Alderson banished Khalil Greene from the team in 2008, the Padres have not had a shortstop of any note. In fact, Fangraphs rates the Padres last in MLB for roster depth at the position.
If pitching and defense wins championships, Preller sacrificed both in the trade unless Myers becomes an absolute super star. So we subscribe to this already, or…?