Despite the recent play of the San Diego Padres, there are reasons to be optimistic about the franchise’s future.
I know, I know.
Being optimistic and a fan of the San Diego Padres do not go hand and hand.
Believe me. It’s the truth. Living through the fire sales and penny-pinching ways of this franchise is not something to wish on any baseball fan. Witnessing your favorite player being dealt away as soon as they produce is a tough pill to swallow. For nearly 50 years, the Padres were just going through the motions. With the exception of a few seasons, the team’s only goal was to turn a profit and keep their head above water. Ambitions of a championship were never even considered by the front office.
Times have changed.
The fan base demanded results, and the current ownership group responded by spending money and attracting relevant major league talent. After years of fielding a team of project players, the Padres now display a roster of players worth watching. Men who are legitimate major league players. Led by superstar caliber players, these are certainly not your father’s Padres.
Despite the abysmal end to this present season, there are several reasons to wear your brown SD hat proudly.
Here are five reasons to remain optimistic, Padres fans.
The San Diego Padres window of competition just opened
With the majority of their everyday roster under the age of 30, you should expect competitive play from this team for years to come. A championship in 2021 was not a necessity for this franchise. There are no relevant pending free agents on the roster. For the most part, the Padres only have a few bad contracts to deal with. Those burdens shouldn’t hinder the Padres much when it comes to being competitive.
Yes, the pain of seeing the Dodgers continually add star players is real. However, the Padres have the ability to upgrade in areas they seem fit. Preller is aggressive in the trade market, and there is some flexibility regarding the current payroll. With a few changes, the Padres could be a juggernaut. A team that most other teams don’t want to play. The future is still bright in San Diego. The fans might just need to be a little more patient.
Plenty of star power
Led by Fernando Tatis Jr., Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Manny Machado, the Padres possess a roster full of well-known players. The average major league fan would struggle to name a handful of Padres players in the season’s past. Now, even a beginner can name several Padres players on the current roster.
A.J. Preller has done well to turn his prospect wealth into viable talent that can help the major league team. Expect more upgrades and prospect turnover in the next few seasons. The Padres do not necessarily believe in cultivating homegrown talent to stay within the organization. With that being said, virtually any player is within the grasp of the Padres. Even Mike Trout is attainable if the Padres wish to go down that road. Far-fetched. But attainable if Preller and his staff want to pay the hefty price.
Ownership invested in winning
The days of firesales are over. The current ownership group led by Peter Seidler is very stable. Something that Padres fans needed,
With the intention of fielding a championship squad, the Padres will surely foot the best foot forward in the next several years. The goal is a world title that is nearly impossible to attain. Just because you spend money doesn’t guarantee success. Thankfully Padres fans have a baseball lifer like Peter Seidler in the front office. Mr. Seidler will surely display patience when it comes to winning and hoisting a championship trophy. There should be no fear of a fire sale in an effort to maximize profits. This group realizes that you need to spend money to make it. That in itself is the most exciting thing about this organization. They are actually trying to win.
Farm system still flourishing
Robert Hassell III is on fire in Fort Wayne and climbing the prospect rankings. The outfielder is definitely a player to keep an eye on, as the 20-year-old is showing improved power to go with a great eye at the plate. Hassell is blessed with five tools and could very easily make a mark on the major league team relatively soon. He is just one example of players who have risen in the last year alone.
This season, Jackson Merrill and James Wood are both high draft picks, and each 18-year-old position player is impressing in the ACL League. Several more players at the DSL level are 17-19 years of age and playing incredibly. Victor Acosta, Bryan Medina, Samuel Zavala, Victor Lizarraga, and Daniel Montesino are names to remember in the coming years. Then there are players like Luis Campusano, MacKenzie Gore, and CJ Abrams, who are all very close to major league action. Campusano has already displayed his tools to the Padres faithful. There are reinforcements in the minors, and they are not as far away from contributing as you think.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
If you are not optimistic about this superstar in a Padres uniform, then something must be wrong with you. Yes, health is a concern. Tatis has missed time already in his young career for a variety of reasons. He plays the game very hard, and with that, injuries do happen. Not one of his injuries is a long-term concern, though. If Tatis can find the right training regimen and be blessed with a little more luck, there is no reason to believe he cannot play 150 plus games each year for the next 13 years.
Tatis is arguably the face of baseball right now. His smile. The way he plays the game. He is a marketing department’s dream and the number one reason why Padres fans should definitely be optimistic about this franchise.