The Padres 2015 season was disappointing to say the least. After an offseason overhaul, all executed by first time general manager AJ Preller, the Padres were poised for playoff contention. The Padres got off to a hot start over the first two or three weeks of the season but the wheels came off after that. After struggling through much of May and early June, the Padres canned manager Bud Black. Under new manager Pat Murphy, things didn’t go much better. Over the last month of the season the Padres fell apart completely, losing well more games than they won.
With the season now in the past, AJ Preller and company have a large amount of work to do to turn around one of the most miserably failed front office experiments in recent memory. While money and talent are not on the Padres side, it seems like anything is possible with AJ Preller at the helm. What follows will be a Padres offseason To-Do List. If the Padres can achieve all the things on the list they may be able to go from one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history to one of the biggest turnarounds in baseball history.
Note: The points listed below are not in order of importance or any other significant order.
For a recap of points 1-10 check out Part 1.
11. Trade Craig Kimbrel
This may be an unpopular sentiment on its own but it does make quite a bit of sense. There was much talk at the trade deadline about trading Craig Kimbrel. Talks actually got close between the Padres and a few different teams, including the Yankees and Astros. Almost every team in the league would be interested in a closer of Kimbrel’s caliber and the Padres would do better by trading him rather than keeping him.
Kimbrel is set to make 24 million over the next two seasons with a 13 million club option for 2018 or a 1 million dollar buyout. This is a total cap hit of at least 25 million over the next three years that the Padres could do better to spend elsewhere. A high caliber is a luxury that the Padres may not be able to afford if they hope to compete as early as 2015. Trading Kimbrel may be the best option for the Padres to cut down on some salary to improve other areas on the field.
12. Make Brandon Maurer the Focal Point of Either Bullpen/Starting Staff
This point kind of goes along with the point above. The fate of Kimbrel may very well dictate the fate of Brandon Maurer. If Kimbrel is traded, Maurer could slide right into the closer role and be very effective at it, at a fraction of the cost. If the Padres do decide to keep Kimbrel, or find some other option as the closer, Maurer could remain in his setup role or he could be transitioned back into the starting staff.
Maurer has had dominant stuff in the back end of the bullpen over the last two years, and struggled as a starter prior to his move to the bullpen. With that being said, Maurer does have a good fastball and strong secondary pitches that could translate well into the starting staff. Beyond that, the Padres may be in very desperate need for a few starting pitchers of Maurer’s caliber depending on how this offseason plays out. This is definitely a storyline to watch going forward. Either way Maurer will be an important part of the Padres pitching staff, whether its in the bullpen or the starting staff.
13. Commit to Jedd Gyorko or Trade him
This may seem like a silly thing to say given the Padres large contractual commitment to Jedd Gyorko, but it seems the new Padres ownership and general manager have been wary of committing to Gyorko and a contract that was not their doing. Gyorko struggled early on the season and was demoted to Triple A before returning to the Majors and having a big second half to the season. More than that, the Padres transitioned Gyorko to shortstop over the last two months of the season and he did well in this short term audition.
With this in mind, the Padres have several options as it pertains to Gyorko for next year. They can attempt to trade him now that his value has rebounded at least a little bit or they could keep him at second base or shortstop for either the short or long term. The Padres need to come to some decision and either dump Gyorko or give him the chance to start and either succeed or fail.
PAGE 2 LINK BELOW