The “tank” has been a buzz-word utilized by Padre fans for the 2017 season.
Most of which, at least to start the season, were in agreement that it would be acceptable if the Friars lost 100 games and had a shot at the top draft pick, dropping themselves to the bottom of the baseball “fish tank” if you will.
My definition of “tanking” means the Padres are to make no concerted effort to win games and perhaps be bad on purpose.
I am not sure the Padres consciously did that in 2017. If they did indeed try to tank, they were horrible at it. They didn’t even finish last in their own division (haha, Giants) and actually won 71 games.
There is a lot of chatter now that winter meetings have started about A.J. Preller and the Padres being very active.
Padres, thinking big, remain strongly in mix for Hosmer.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2017
— sboeck (@scott_boeck) December 12, 2017
By my definition, that doesn’t sound like a team that is “tanking” if the Padres are “thinking big” and wanting to get “top (free agents).” This begs the question: Is the tank over for the San Diego Padres? Is this the point where the organization digs their feet in deeper, to stop sliding backwards, and begins to push forward at the major league level? Keep in mind, this team is only two seasons removed from one of the most hyped and disappointing seasons in franchise history (2015). Preller punted and began a rebuild that has been in place for the past two seasons.
A team that is looking to spend triple-digit-millions on a free agent in Eric Hosmer, as Scott Boeck referenced above and A.J. Cassavell says below, is not a team that is looking towards a younger, brighter future. What are the Padres’ goals in 2018? Is A.J. Preller ready to try this again?
Asked Padres official if the Hosmer chatter was real. "Very real," he said. Another source said there's definitely something to all the talk.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) December 12, 2017
Certainly, the current roster looks to be in no position to compete, especially with the addition (for now) of a recycled Chase Headley. In addition, the most prized pieces of this “tank” (Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias, Cal Quantrill, Mackenzie Gore) are not even close to being major league ready, much less ready to help the Padres win games.
San Diego also seems interested in not only acquiring a controllable shortstop, but willing to sacrifice a young starting pitcher to do so.
Meanwhile, some rival officials think the Padres would not rule out including a young starting pitcher in potential deals for a shortstop.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) December 12, 2017
I feel like Padres fans are like the seagulls in “Finding Nemo” when it comes to the possible moving of top prospects, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” Understandably so, as the Friars have one of the most enviable farm systems in all of baseball. It looks like perhaps no one is safe. The Padres look to be gunning for Zack Cozart or even Freddy Galvis. Neither one would be an Erick Aybar, Alexei Ramirez-type shortstop acquisition. That would be a “we want our shortstop to help us win games” kind of move.
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) December 12, 2017
This is A.J. Preller we are talking about. He marches to the beat of his own drum, sometimes to a fault. By the definition of “tanking” I gave above, and if these rumors are true about how active the Padres are during winter meetings, the tank is over. 2018 is about winning ball games. That might be the message Preller is sending us.
Now, knowing him, he could make half a dozen moves in the next few weeks to make this article irrelevant and you will see tweets like “the tank is back on!” or “embrace the tank!” However, if this trend continues, Preller has no intention of tanking in 2018.