Growing up, I was always excited to get San Diego Padres gear for Christmas.
From jerseys to signed baseballs, I wanted it all. In my own childish way, I still do.
This time, I am going to have a bit of a “grown-up Christmas list.” I want things the Padres need to be a successful, sustainable franchise and a force to be reckoned with in the next decade.
Here is my Padres grown-up Christmas list.
- Quick Development of Star Prospects Leading to a 2018 Call-Up
I am not predicting Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias or Cal Quantrill will break camp with the big league club at the end of spring training. On my wish list is for at least one of these three to make a big enough jump in 2018 to get a call up at some point this next season. The most likely scenario would be in September, of course, when the major league roster expands to 40.
The most likely of those three to do that is probably Quantrill. Given his speedy recovery from Tommy John and his solid numbers throughout the season, it is not so far-fetched to think that someone of his talent would jump from Double-A to the majors in one season. It happens a lot. Since this is a Christmas wish list, I am going to go ahead and wish for a Cal Quantrill start in the big leagues sometime in 2018. In addition, I want Tatis and Urias to live up to the hype and become top overall prospects, looking towards breakout 2019 rookie seasons.
2. Eric Hosmer to Be a Padre….At the Right Price
I am not as high on signing Hosmer as other Padres fans might be. However, that is really only because the asking price is well into the $100 millions. I would rather not fix a problem that isn’t there (I think Wil Myers is fine at first base) and mortgage payroll down the road for a player who, in all honesty, is just a lefty Wil Myers with a slightly better batting average.
However, at the right price, I am willing to be excited about Hosmer. I doubt his price will come down, but if this is a Christmas list, I would sign Hosmer if it were for under $18 million per season. I think Hosmer is a pretty good player (.318 average, 25 HR, 132 OPS+ last season), but I don’t think 2018 is the time to go all-2015 on everybody.
Aside from his numbers and price, I think Hosmer would be a benefit to have in a locker room trying to figure out how to win. He is a leader. He seems to be more of an alpha-male than Myers is, who currently is the face of the Padres.
3. Bring Back the Brown, Please!
On-the-field results are more important, hence why this isn’t number one. Although, this may be number one in my heart. I know the Padres cannot make uniform changes this next season, but there is some reason to hope the Padres will make changes to their uniforms heading into the change of the decade.
Gaslamp Ball did a survey that had over 2,000 participants and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of the brown. Almost 92% said they liked the Friday brown and yellow sets and just over 88% said that brown should be the Padres main color.
The Padres have the most boring uniforms in all of baseball. Please, please, please make a change. During the 2016 All-Star Game year, the move to a yellow trim was a step in the right direction, only to take two steps backwards this past season. Santa Claus, if you are listening, the Padres need an identity. No, they need to find their identity again, which is wearing the color brown.
4. The NL West To Get Weaker Around the Padres
The Giants might have helped this cause Wednesday, announcing they have traded for aging third baseman Evan Longoria, whose best years are behind him. They did so while giving up their number one prospect, Christian Arroyo as well as their 25th and 29th prospects in their system.
The Diamondbacks are always hard to predict. They made the playoffs but most of their top players from last year are in their 30’s. Bleacher Report has their farm system ranked at #24 as well, far inferior to San Diego’s. In the next two years, I foresee the Padres will be better than Arizona.
The Rockies are in a bit better of a position. They might be ready to peak just before the Padres are. Their farm system is 19th, but they have a young Nolan Arenado, who is one of the best in all of baseball. They are also putting together a pitching staff perhaps never seen in Denver. I would keep a close eye on the Rockies as a threat, especially these next two years.
The Dodgers are the big dogs and they should be. They are coming off of a 104-win, National League pennant season. They did so with five of their top six players in WAR under the age of 30. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They also have a farm system ranked 9th. This will be the team to worry about. Since this is Christmas, I am asking that they go for broke in 2018 and sellout to get back to the World Series, mortgaging their top young talent for more instant success.
5. Ticket Prices at Petco Park to Go Down Significantly
No one is delusional enough to think the Padres will contend in 2018, even if they do sign Hosmer. That being said, there is buzz around the franchise about how the rebuild is going with all the prospects the Padres have stockpiled. Padre fans want to come to games to see their young talent. Not to mention, Petco Park is the most beautiful ballpark in the entire league.
So why are ticket prices so high? The Friars had the ninth most expensive ticket in the major leagues, with the average price at $72.66. I am sorry, that is just absurd. I get that you are paying for “more” than the product on the field with the views and the food. But still, come on. The Padres had more expensive tickets than seven of the playoff teams last season, including the World Series champion Astros. That is just embarrassing.
On top of that, many teams did in-season discount promos to get butts in seats. Playoff teams did that. Giving away bleacher seats for less than $10. Meanwhile, the Padres, 20 games below .500, has top-ten ticket prices. So please, for Christmas, lower the ticket prices at Petco Park. Let people come with their families. Build the fanbase now, while we are down. Stop shutting out a big chunk of your fan base. San Diego is expensive enough.