Grading the San Diego Padres 2019 transactions

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Padres

Taking a look at the transactions for the 2019 San Diego Padres.

In 2019 A.J. Preller, GM of the San Diego Padres made quite a few moves that will affect the team for years to come.

With 2020 expected to be a competing year, the 2019 season was essential a building year for the Padres.

There are hundreds of moves a GM makes every year, including Spring Training invites, the draft, international signings, trades, and waiver claims. Many of these moves have minimal bearing on the major league club. Thus we are going to ignore most of theses steps, only focusing on the significant transactions that affected the team. 

Claimed Greg Garcia off waivers

Grade: A

The first substantial move that A.J. Preller made this past winter was quite a good one. Claiming Greg Garcia was one of the best steps made this year as he has shown a lot. Garcia made the opening day roster. He filled the utility role quite nicely seeing time at second, third and shortstop. His actual value, however, came at the plate. Garcia improved his walk rate and thus his OBP around 50 points from the year prior. He’s been a valuable piece of this Padres roster and should be retained for next year. 

Signed Garrett Richards 

Grade: Incomplete 

Garrett Richards signed a two-year deal following successful Tommy John surgery. Most of this first year has been spent rehabilitating. Since he’s only going to get a few starts to end the year, it’s too early to say whether or not this is a good move. In his starts, we’ve seen flashes of his old self. The “stuff” is there; he just needs to find consistency and command. His floor is a veteran innings-eater; his ceiling is a top of the rotation arm. The Padres desperately need both, so if he can stay healthy, this will be a positive grade and a quality acquisition by Preller.

Signed Ian Kinsler

Grade: F

One of Preller’s worst deals this year was signing Ian Kinsler to a two-year contract. Kinsler took several steps back offensively and defensively this season. His place on the roster likely blocked guys like Ty France and Luis Urias from coming up sooner than they did during the season. This also cost Garcia playing time who had a much better season all around than Kinsler. The signing of the veteran infielder is one Preller would likely take back if he could. 

Credit: AP Photo

Signed Aaron Loup

Grade: C-

What seemed like a good move at the start of the season ended up being a disappointment. Aaron Loup was brought in to bolster the bullpen being that he is left-handed. However, Loup ended up on the IL after throwing 3.1 scoreless innings. You can’t exactly blame Preller for this; injuries happen in baseball. 

Signed Manny Machado

Grade: B

The considerable signing no one saw coming. Manny Machado signing with the Padres turned the baseball world upside down. It put the Padres on the map for 2019 and told everyone they are serious about contending for a long time. Machado had a down year offensively but quickly showed off his Gold Glove defense at third. He’s been looked up to in the clubhouse, even taking Tatis Jr. under his wing. The infielder will be a cornerstone of the team for the next nine years. The 300 million dollar contract may hamstring the club in later seasons, but otherwise, this looks like an excellent addition to the franchise.

Signed Adam Warren

Grade: C

Adam Warren and Aaron Loup we’re both brought in to help solidify the bullpen in free agency. Unfortunately, they both ended the season on IL. Around mid-May, Warren’s ERA was as low as 3.54, but a miserable end of May and early June resulted in his season-ending with a 5.34 ERA in only 28.2 innings pitched. Had he pitched a full year, the right-hander may have been a solid signing. However, injuries and poor performance result in a low grade for Warren. 

Claimed Socrates Brito & traded for Rodrigo Orozco

Grade: A

After claiming Socrates Brito off waivers, he was flipped to the Toronto Blue Jays for Rodrigo Orozco. Preller acquired him for virtually nothing. Even if Orozco doesn’t work out, it was still worth the risk; there was none. 

Credit: AP Photo

Trade Diomar Lopez for Matt Wisler then trade Matt Wisler for cash

Grade: C-

At the beginning of the season, Preller traded Diomar Lopez for former Padre Matt Wisler. The slider specialist came out of the bullpen and did not work out, posting a 5.28 ERA over 21 games. He was traded to the Mariners for cash. Preller took a chance to buy low on a former highly-rated prospect. It didn’t work out, but it also didn’t cost the Padres much. If Preller makes 3-4 moves like this and even one can pan out, it’s a win. 

Traded Alex Dickerson for Franklin Van Gurp

Grade: C-

When the Padres first traded Alex Dickerson to the Giants, he played exceptionally well, and this looked like a really bad trade. However, Dickerson has since spent time on the IL; something Padre fans are all too familiar with when it comes to the outfielder. If Dickerson can stay healthy, he’s a good ballplayer and should be on a team. With the Padres’ perceived overflow in the outfield at the time, it made him expendable. This is a trade the Padres may soon come to regret. Maybe not so much trading Dickerson, but not allowing him to raise his value in a trade closer to the deadline. Franklin Van Gurp spent the rest of 2019 with High-A Lake Elsinore Storm and Lo- A Fort Wayne Tincaps. He is not considered a top prospect at this time but has some upside. 

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Alex Yeargan
31 year old Father of two cute boys, husband of five years to a woman I don’t deserve. Born and raised in San Diego so naturally a lifelong Padre and Chargers fan

10 thoughts on “Grading the San Diego Padres 2019 transactions

  1. By the way, I forgot some more moves this year….Preller inexplicably added some guys to the 40 man roster that had no reason to be on there (e.g. Morejon; etc). Now, especially because of so many guys needing to be on the 40 man roster, they will have to boot some people off that will be scooped up b other teams. Preller is incompetent.

    1. I think they had to be protected from Rule 5 anyway. I think this was basically mandatory, or they would take up a spot and still be in the farm. Could be mistaken.

  2. Nobody mentions Reyes trade? The worst trade I ever see FF+
    This player hit 37 HR 250 avg 24 yr . What can you asking . That trade devastated padres team.
    We are game said reyes and tatis .

  3. Another last place finish for AJ. He is stunningly bad as a GM.

    “Yeah, but we have the best farm system!” And how is that working out?

    * He inherited a top, if not the top system. And he has been selecting at the top of the draft every year (+ additional top picks through FA signings).

    * He was also given a near blank check for international signings a few years ago ……. and they are still in last place.

    * Every year he has traded their best trade chips for prospects.

    Not only should he have the best farm system, by far, the actual MLB team should be FAR more competitive by now. But it is not–even after being able to spend hundreds of millions in FA, all while having to pay millions to players not to play for the Padres.

    Who does this and still has a job? Who does this and is still praised for this, and for being a genius and rock star?

    This is a Ponzi Scheme + a bait-and-swtich + a gullible audience.

    “Yeah, but we have the best farm system. Give it a few years and…and…and some point…in a few years…we will be competitive. And, did I mention we have the best farm system…and that we will be great in a few years?”

    1. This just isn’t true. Our farm system was about middle of the pack, then management told AJ they wanted to win right now. When it didn’t work, he said let me do this the right way.
      When you’re only going to win 70 games, and a closer only has a year of half a year on their contract….you should maximize that value. You’re missing a lot of the point here. Should we be satisfied? No. But, the depth to which you’re diving is empty.

      Houston had this exact same timeline. If we can have 90% of their regular season success and eventually win a ring, this overhaul will be the primary reason. Without doing all this, we don’t have Tatis, Paddack, or Gore. Stop moaning.

      1. Thanks for writing: Preller cam one in August of 2014. 2 years prior they had the #1 system (according to Sports Illustrated). They had the #9 in 2103 and #7 in 2014 (when he was hired). This is no where near the middle of the pack.

        We’ve all heard that he was told to win now, and that he had no choice. That may or may not be true, but I doubt it. Either way, the trades he made at that time were absolutely brutal. Some of the worst possible. That is not exactly support Preller’s competence. And, when his horrible moves failed miserably (and perhaps somewhat to his credit) he traded some of the value to restock the farm system, while letting some become 1st round draft picks (which helped … the farm system). This is not competence or skill, it is sleight of hand (when it comes to having the best farm system). All this, not to mention, as mentioned before, he was given massive quantities of capital to invest in the farm system. How many people alive today could not take the #7 system to the top 2 or 3 (the Braves, Yankees, the Rays where/are probably better) with all that he had at his disposal? Literally anyone could with all the top picks, the numerous picks, the gobs of money (including paying $6+ million just to draft a 2nd rounder, who will never make a dent on the MLB team), the trading away top MLB talent for minor league prospects, etc.

        And for what? 5 years later the Padres are still … in last place…and still picking in the top 10.

        Houston and others had wonderful farm systems, but they also had a far better GM. They had one who could put a MLB roster together, and not trade for or sign guys for millions of dollars, only to have either cut them, or be forced to play an inferior player (due to the horrible contract) over superior players.

        Call it what you will, but if writing the truth is moaning then I will continue to moan. However, perhaps you could stop enabling Preller and start admitting the truth, maybe?

  4. Appreciate your willingness to dive deep, but all players not on the ML roster are INCs. Who knows what Trammel will become, at this point it’s just an educated guess. Most of this is just prospecting.
    Next, only players who will be on the next playoff team are worth any consideration. So yes Kinsler was an F, but he won’t be around when the club is good, so it doesn’t matter much. Whereas Hosmer will be and that will stink forever.
    Lastly, you should grade the Green firing, as an A. It was clear he wasn’t playoff-quality, now the club has a chance to seriously upgrade.

  5. A.J. needs to have a good off season. We need an ace! We may need to trade some of the prospects if ownership chooses not to sign Strasburg or Cole (either of these guys would be great for the team and increase season ticket sales!). He NEEDS to trade the right prospects. On the major league roster, Lauer, Lucchesi, Hedges, Jankowski, Martini, France, Kinsler, Naylor, Wintinger, Erlin and Perdomo should be available for trades! Margevicius, Mejia-Brean, Edwards Jr. should be removed from the 40 man roster to save our potential Rule 5 losses.

    Sign Yates, Tatis, Renfroe and Garcia to two to three year contracts (actually Tatis should be signed to a Bregman type of a contract). Mejia and Torrens should split the catching duties. We need a outfielder who hits for average and power. If Trammell is the guy, play him a lot during spring training with plan he rotates with Margot during the season. Myers situation is so unfortunate. So much wasted talent. Hopefully someday he will plays with a sense of urgency, he is wasting his chance to be a great player.

    Sign a Major League Manager!

    Love my Pads! Can’t wait for the off season and spring training! Don’t let the fans down A.J.!

  6. Let’s be honest all but Manny have made little to no impact and that is the problem. It’s a whole lot of nothing. Even the draft and the Trammel deal being pluses doesnt address making the ML roster better.

    It seems like it’s been said alot going I to the offseason but this is the most important offseason on AJ Preller era. The hire of the manager will say alot about how stable the ground is under AJ.

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