The last 18 months have been absolutely crazy for San Diego Padres fans. The Friars went from one of the most talked about teams to a franchise that is obviously in the midst of a rebuild. It doesn’t matter what management says about the current Padres plans. Actions speak louder than words. The team is rebuilding for the future.
The December 2015 acquisition spree truly did make the Padres the toast of the MLB community. When a team acquires Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Justin Upton in a matter of days and follows that up with Craig Kimbrel and James Shields, fans are going to get excited. The National Media exposure was unreal and fans who had previously washed their hands of the team, had come out of the wood-work. Things were looking up for the Padres franchise.
As we all know the 2015 team was nothing close to competitive. The uncertainty at the manager position left the clubhouse in disarray and the Padres struggled to keep their head above water. Many prospects were moved to attain these slugging outfielders and fans began to question the moves made by the front office. In reality building a competitive team is not as easy as acquiring a slew of players. You need chemistry and you need defense to be a winning team. The Padres clearly lacked both last season as the team constantly kicked the ball around the infield. The clubhouse had issues too as the team seemed to lack cohesiveness.
This past offseason the team changed their philosophy and brought in a defensive minded coach to manage the team. The Padres are #1 in defensive runs saved via the shift in 2016. There is no question that the defensive play has picked up and Andy Green has a lot to do with that. On top of addressing the defensive needs, the team brought in a steady group of left-handed pitchers. Something the San Diego Padres sorely lacked last season. In fact at one time last season Will Venable was the only left-handed thrower on the whole Padres 25-man roster. That is really a strange statistic when you think about it.
With the additions of Ryan Buchter, Christian Friedrich, Drew Pomeranz, Brad Hand, Matt Thornton and Buddy Baumann, the Padres addressed that need. They also traded for Jon Jay to stabilize the lineup and provide an everyday left-handed presence. Still the team is missing something. They need to take advantage of their surplus in certain areas and make some trades. The catching position is one that the Padres are deep in. Derek Norris, Christian Bethancourt and Austin Hedges are quality options for the team. Hector Sanchez just cleared waivers as well and will be at triple-A El Paso with Hedges. The writing is on the wall that the team will move Derek Norris who seems to have the most value.
The outfield position is also one of strength for the team. With Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and Alex Dickerson developing in El Paso, the Padres really do need to move Jay, Upton and Kemp to make room for the future. With all this action there are two teams that really fit well as far as trade partners go. Ironically it is both the Texas teams. The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are fantastic fits because both teams have deep farm systems and also have playoff ambitions. Each teams needs fit what the Padres have for sale, so a trade could happen very easily. Just for fun lets take a look at both teams and see what they covet from the Padres and who they have to offer in their farm systems.
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