Current Notes on “Trusting the Process”

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Credit: USA Today Sports

There’s no denying that this off-season has left much to be desired – not only regarding the Padres, but across Major League Baseball. While actual transactions have seemed to be lacking, grandiose rumors have taken the city of San Diego by storm.

At this point,the team may just enter into spring training without making any major moves. To some fans this would be a bad thing. Others will take a deep sigh of relief. Maybe it’s all just been talk. A fun way for people to offer up their creativity in the form of fantasy baseball-esque trade speculations. Certainly, some members of the media have leaked rumors (sometimes unfounded) in order to build up some hype for themselves and their outlets.

Are these things bad? Frustrating, yes, but maybe they serve a purpose. It seems that the rumors have created a serious debate among Padres fans at a crucial time in the team’s development. Will the team stick to the process of a committed rebuild or will they stop half-way and start trying to win as early as next season?

I’ll just go ahead and say it: I am dedicated to a hard rebuild. I don’t believe we should be trading any of our top prospects at this time. I don’t even really want us to be trading our second or third tier prospects unless we get incredible value in return. I don’t have a problem with the team signing free-agents at this point, but only to inexpensive, short-term, deals. Ultimately, the goal of these signings would be to flip at the trade deadline for interesting prospects.

Why do I take this position? I believe in the law of large numbers. The more lottery tickets the team compiles in the system, the better chances they have to put together a team of homegrown winners. We want homegrown winners because they are cost-effective and under team control for an extended period of time. If we do it this way, the Padres can have a whole team of winners for the better side of a decade, if not longer. When their homegrown players become eligible for free agency, the team can choose which ones they actually want to offer big contracts to. It’s a matter of getting ahead of the market.

I’ll relate this idea to the two biggest Padres rumors floating around at the moment.

Signing Eric Hosmer at anything over the $100 million range, for more than 5 years, is a mistake. Even paying him that much is too much. Granted, as a young, left-handed slugger, he is one of the better, high-profile, free agents for the Padres to be interested in, but he is simply not worth the risk. For one, he’s a first baseman. They don’t age well. The team could be stuck with an expensive, underperforming player for years to come simply because they couldn’t show patience in a limited market. Why should the team commit such resources to a player before they even know what they truly have to work with? The prospects in the system need at least another year to develop before a proper assessment can be made regarding which holes need to be filled in free agency. He’s a talented player, but he doesn’t fit the team right now, plain and simple. If we have to squint to see him as a part of this team in the future, we don’t need him.

Trading for Christian Yelich would be another mistake. Yes, Yelich is a great player and any team would be lucky to have him, but his price tag is too high. The Marlins will certainly demand one or more of Fernando Tatis, Luis Urias, Michel Baez, or Mackenzie Gore in return. It’s been reported that they have asked the Braves for Christian Acuna as part of a deal for Yelich. If the Padres chose to part with any of those players, they would be greatly bidding against the longevity of their success in the coming years. Again, of course, I concede that Yelich is an outstanding player, but his acquisition would be a symbol of the team’s impatience.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t like the Freddy Galvis trade. I’ll tell you why. It’s not that I don’t like Freddy Galvis. I think he’s a decent player and he seems like a good guy. I just think he’s not really right for this team. We traded Enyel De Los Santos for Galvis. De Los Santos was basically a second tier prospect with us. We will never know what he would have become as a Padre. Maybe nothing, maybe something. We do know that Galvis is, more likely than not, a one-year placeholder at shortstop. Someone in our system will not get the opportunity to develop at the major league level at that position. Had we held off on Galvis, it might have been Jose Rondon, who we just released. Like De Los Santos, we won’t know what Rondon’s potential as a Padre truly was. Simply put, we should be testing out our prospects to determine their potential, not playing stopgaps that give us no information for the future.

I believe that the Yangervis Solarte move was positive. In return for Solarte, the Padres got Edward Olivares and Jared Carkuff from the Blue Jays. Olivares is a speedy, right-handed center-fielder with some power potential. He has a good deal of upside. Carkuff was somewhat of a throw in, not much to dream on. Solarte was a solid player and a good teammate, but ultimately, not someone who was going to be with the Padres in the long run. The team netted another prospect in Olivares to add to pool of talent. The move aligns with the rebuild process.

Signing Tyson Ross and Chris Young to minor league deals were positive moves. There is virtually no risk there. The team will be paying these players pennies on the dollar to try out for the team in spring training. If either of them end up succeeding with the team, it would be a net positive. They would be providing low-cost production and the fans would get some old favorites back on the field. Best case scenario, the team can flip the revamped pitchers at the trade deadline, a la Fernando Rodney in 2016.

The Jabari Blash for Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell deal was pretty neutral, to be honest. Yes, Headley is going to cost the team $13 million for the 2018 season (if they don’t trade him) but if Mitchell can somehow put it together in the ways that the scouting department imagines, he could become a valuable asset.

I’ll admit that I have a very specific view of what I think it means to “trust the process.” I’ve lived in San Diego for virtually my entire life. Trust me when I say that I want the Padres to be champions. I understand that it’s difficult to watch our team seemingly float around in mediocrity at the Major League level. Especially when the rest of the N.L. West is experiencing such success.I want to see the Padres make it to the World Series, but not just once, followed by decades of losing seasons. I’ve been on that ride before. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on how they think the team should operate. I think I am just someone who really appreciates systems. I get a certain satisfaction from seeing a process develop from start to finish. I want to see what the team has started through to an organic conclusion. My hypothesis is that if the team practices patience and stays the course on a hard rebuild, they will be perennial winners for a long time.

17 thoughts on “Current Notes on “Trusting the Process”

  1. How do you not like that Freddy gal is trade?? De lay santos would of never sniffed our major league rotation, ntm the padres haven’t had a legitimate SS in years. I’m sorry I read this article.

    1. Freddy has ZERO value (at least beyond this year, and perhaps a little value this year). The pitcher they gave up does have value, now and in the future. So, by your thinking, we should like it if the Padres gave up 3 or 4 prospects (i.e. huge value now, but especially for years to come) for one year of Manny Machado. Yes, he VERY good, and he is a legit third baseman, even shortstop, that the Padres haven’t had in years, but for ONE year, and then he has ZERO value. You may like that, but you can’t see why others don’t?

      1. He will help build the confidence, and value of Perdomo, who was 2nd in the league in ground ball percentage. Plus, we may be able to move him at the deadline for a player we like better, probably at a different position. They could even extend him. Sorry you don’t know more about baseball than Preller.

        1. While we’re at it, Asuaje *could* become the next Jeter and we might be able to sign Harper and Machado, and flip Chase for Trout. Hey, it could happen! Maybe if we learn as much as the exalted A.J (praise be his name) then maybe, just maybe these will happen.

  2. I am fine with trading for Yelich or Hosmer. The Padres were a .500 team for a hundred game span last year. I am very high on Matt Strahm and Lamet. I think our pitching improves over last year. I think Hosmer AND Yelich, that would change alot of folks minds about being Padre fans!

  3. Excellent piece Ben. You were able to articulate your points well. I totally agree with your outlook on the rebuild.

  4. The Padres need to have the courage to stick to the process. But the front office needs to be much more honest with fans (as the Cubs and Astros were in the years leading up to recent success). Yes, team will need to bring in free agents or make trades to get to the promised land but shouldn’t jump the gun now.

  5. Hosmer isn’t perfect, but I don’t have any problem signing him to a long-term deal. We may have to write off the last 2 years, but that’s just the way these deals work. He should still be good during the Padres’ 2020-22 window.

    I think this team needs a leader and a face, and Hosmer fits the role very well. He’s already done it in KC, he can do it here very easily.

    1. I agree. I think we should sign Hosmer, and trade for Yelich. Sign Kuechel next year, and we’re still around $100 mil payroll, w 3 younger vets who are stars that can help mold all the young guys. Hosmer has a thin build and is the most durable out there. He may not have even hit his prime. We have plenty to trade besides Baez, Tatis,Gore and Urias for Yelich. Renfroe, Spangenberg, Luccessi/Laurer and Quantrill may get it done. We could even take on salary of one of their other players like Prado, Ziegler, Tagawa even Chen if our medical staff thinks he can recover if we didn’t want to give up the farm kids. You can’t win with just prospects. You need vets. We have plenty of pitching coming up in Espinoza, Paddack, Morejon, Nix, and we will continue to draft well. Not to mention Lamet and Perdomo.Take advantage of the Marlins and get top 30 player in the league. I also believe Myers will bounce back next year, he really can’t be any worse and we could flip him before his contract balloons, especially if Cordero continues to improve. He’ll have more value once he shows his versatility in the OF as well. 2019 is reasonable to start competing without those guys, with them we’ll definitely be in the mix. Great article, but I respectfully disagree. Preller has built the farm in 2+ years. I think we will continue to make great trades, and draft well. Cheers to 2019!

      1. Now that yelich made it clear he wants out now I feel like we won’t need to include your top prospects listed. Especially considering padres have a stupid deep system. We trade lauer, cal quatrill, renfroe and spange I think that’s a fare trade.

          1. We have been counting on prospects FOREVER. That rarely works out. History will tell you only maybe one of those guys will verify be as good as Yelich. You have to overpay to get a top player, w that much control for cheap.

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