A future plan for the San Diego Padres

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Here is a plan for the San Diego Padres in the coming years as they attempt to become consistent in their quest for a world championship. 

There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres need help.

The 2023 season is a complete failure. A roster that was supposed to contend is instead wallowing in fourth place in their own division and nine games under the .500 mark. Major changes need to be made for the future. The current idea of competitiveness and preparedness is wrong. A purge of the system and its philosophies is needed.

It is clear that the San Diego Padres are doing it wrong. You can’t sugar-coat it.

Spending massive amounts of money on players has energized the fan base, but eventually, they will demand results. Especially with ticket prices soaring and the product on the field failing.

For the future, there will need to be some changes, and here is a look at a few concepts that could help bring sustained success to the San Diego Padres.

Something that is long overdue.


Overhaul philosophy and implement new systems throughout 

The term “Padres way” is not used anymore. Not since the days of Andy Green have we heard this mantra. The Padres need to change their culture and find semblance. The franchise needs balance and continuity. A Padres way is certainly needed and must be taught through the whole minor league system. This will be a difficult task as the franchise has been all over the place in terms of baseball philosophies. But you must get to the root of the problem if you genuinely expect results.

The Padres are lacking horribly in advanced scouting and interpretation of analytics. They are generally not prepared, and their record this season in close games and extra innings is a massive issue. It feels as though the players are not made aware of anything on a day-to-day basis. The Padres may have access to the numbers that everyone else in the league has access to, but they need talented individuals to explain it to the players and provide software that is useful. The modern game dictates that you spend money on internal analytics. The frugal Padres are not doing so. They are not changing with the times.


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Purge some payroll

Continuing at this current rate doesn’t seem feasible for the Padres in the long run. Their payroll is third in all of baseball, only behind both New York teams. The Padres are in a lower-tiered market, and though their attendance numbers are outstanding, they will need to continue to hustle the people of San Diego to make money and afford their players. For the immediate future, the team should be able to pack Petco Park as the stadium has turned into the hip place to be in downtown San Diego.

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The main reason to purge payroll is listed below. Three pending free agents are looming, and the team will surely need some financial flexibility in the coming years. It only makes sense to lose some payroll somewhere. However, I will warn you that doing this will send a bad message throughout the league. If the Padres have to shed some players after signing them to lucrative deals, it will look terribly irresponsible within the major league community. And frankly, it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of potential new players the team may pursue in the future. They will need to tread these waters very carefully.


Extend pending free-agents

Juan Soto, Blake Snell, and Josh Hader are valuable in so many ways. They represent essentially the team’s best hitter, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher. They all must be retained. Soto is not due for free agency until after the 2024 season, but both left-handed pitchers are free agents this winter. Snell and Hader are both enjoying excellent years and with their pedigree, they will not be cheap to extend. It will take close to three-quarters of a billion dollars to sign these men long-term. That is a scary thought.

One can argue that Hader is not as vital as Snell for the future. The Padres may be able to find a suitable replacement at the end of the bullpen, or they could promote Robert Suarez to the role as they are invested in the right-handed fireballer. Juan Soto is the elephant in the room. The left-handed hitter is a perennial All-Star and, at the age of 24, is in the prime of his career. When you factor in the price the Padres paid for his services, San Diego will certainly go the extra mile to retain him. As they should. If re-signed and extended, he would surely be the highest-paid Padre on the roster.


Spend wisely on the bullpen and bench

With the nucleus of the team established, the Padres should use their remaining resources to bring in dozens of veterans to compete for bench and bullpen spots in the spring. Bring in players who are motivated and looking for opportunities to succeed. Assemble a roster of hungry veterans and sprinkle in a few young players here and there. In doing this, the team should pay only slightly over the league minimum for these men. Motivation goes a long way in the game of baseball.

By bringing in players whose careers are in flux, you give an edge to a clubhouse. The veterans who are enjoying $100 million contracts will become motivated by men who are playing for their livelihood. These veterans at the end of the roster will not take anything for granted and should help a team focus on a universal goal. Preller and his staff will need to do their homework and find players who are undervalued and about to reach their potential. Traditionally, the Padres have not been able to get the best out of players, and that must change as well. Player development issues must be fixed to get the best out of your bench spots.


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Develop pitching, pitching, and more pitching

In Major League Baseball, more often than not, teams are stuck with hurt pitchers on their roster. Time and time again, a franchise pays the price for a pitcher based on what they have already done in the majors. That seems logical, but it is rare for a pitcher to have any sustained success. A wiser idea would be to heavily invest in pitching through your system. With a nucleus of Tatis, Machado, Soto, and Bogaerts, you want waves of young pitching arriving at Petco Park for the next ten seasons.

A.J. Preller, Chris Kemp, and the Padres staff are highly regarded in the industry when it comes to scouting. The Padres already have multiple young pitchers in the minors who should debut in the coming years. Dylan Lesko, Robby Snelling, Jairo Iriarte, Adam Mazur, and company are getting close and represent the first wave of talented pitchers to debut for the Padres. The point is to stockpile inexpensive pitchers to balance out the cost of the offense. Especially because the Padres are invested heavily in Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish already.

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