Unless re-signing Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez qualify, the San Diego Padres haven’t made any statement moves this offseason.
With the Winter Meetings winding down after a hectic week, AJ Preller’s done everything in his power to lure high-profile free agents to Slam Diego. First, “offseason priority” Jose Abreu chose the champion Astros. Then, Trea Turner rejected the Padres’ $342 million offer to sign with the Phillies for $300 million.
The biggest domino of this offseason — Aaron Judge — fell Wednesday morning. After misleading buzz indicated the AL MVP was headed to San Francisco, the Yankees swooped in and locked in their homegrown superstar to the tune of a nine-year, $360 million contract.
While the Dodgers and other teams were pegged as dark horse landing spots for Judge, it always felt like a two-horse race between the Yanks and Giants for the newly-mined American League home run champ. However, a surprise third team entered the mix last-minute and left Judge with a tough decision.
That team, according to multiple reports, was the Padres.
The Padres made a late run at Aaron Judge before he returned to the Yankees.
Preller really means business this offseason. Despite throwing around gargantuan contracts willy nilly, and having a superstar-laden roster headlined by Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto, the Friars keep falling short.
At the surface, losing Judge to the Yankees isn’t a huge deal. When you consider the mammoth offer San Diego made to the 30-year-old, though, it changes the narrative … and paints the Padres’ offseason (so far) in a grim light.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Padres offered Judge a 10-year, $400 million contract. In fairness to San Diego, Judge reportedly turned down multiple offers worth more than what he ultimately signed for with the Yankees.
But still, they matched the Yankees’ offer in terms of annual average value ($40 million) and even offered extra security by going 10 years. Was returning to New York — at the right price, obviously — that important for Judge? It certainly seems that way. Why else would he turn his nose up at becoming the second player in MLB history (Mike Trout was the first) to ink a $400 million contract?
What a devastating turn of events for the Padres. Fans can’t even me mad at Preller (what else can he do besides sign the contract?), and they can’t even be mad at Judge for taking the same AAV to return to the Bronx to become a lifetime Yankee. The historical significance behind that cannot be overstated.
It’s easier said than done, but Preller and the Padres have to pick themselves up and move on to the next.
But, man. To think San Diego was that close to signing the face of baseball is going to hurt for a while.
Surely, luck is about to regress in the Padres’ favor, right?