The San Diego Padres have been building up their farm system ever since their failed spending spree before the 2015 season. While Preller was responsible for the fiasco that was 2015, he has quickly built the farm back up to be one of the best in baseball yet again.
Unfortunately, with continual failure as the staple of San Diego sports, patience is hard to come by for San Diego fans. This lack of patience could be placing pressure on the front office to make a large splash in free agency (to acquire a guy like Eric Hosmer), or to sell off the farm again (to acquire Christian Yelich).
Arguments can be made as to how each of those players will positively impact the San Diego Padres in years to come. However, should the Padres really be big spenders before 2018? No. And here is why.
For starters, the Padres do not need a first baseman. They should not be looking at first basemen. Most importantly, they should not be looking to sign a first baseman to a massive contract. Wil Myers may not be producing offensively as well as we would like to see, but I do not see Hosmer making any more of an impact. The last thing the Padres need right now is another massive contract when losing games throughout 2018 benefits their rebuild.
The other reason to remain stingy before the 2018 season is the list of players who will become free agents after this season. The Padres should not be competing for a wild card spot this season. It does them no good. They are not ready to compete for a championship just yet and they should save their money. Here are some of the names that could intrigue the Padres after 2018.
There are four slots the Padres need to fill within the next few years; assuming Tatis and Urias fill up the middle infield, the Padres need to find a third baseman, an outfielder, a starting pitcher, and a veteran bench player. These can all be found in the 2018 free agent class.
You are about to find out why the Padres need to save their money. The ideal scenario would be to sign Manny Machado and Adam Jones. Wishful thinking Padre fans; this has a 0% chance of happening. However, signing one of them could be possible if we pass on Hosmer.
Manny Machado is the gem of the third baseman class, but given his prestige and age come 2018 free agency, it is unlikely the Padres sign him. He will be out of their budget. And he does not feel like the right fit for San Diego. However, A.J. Preller may throw an offer out there. You never know. It would certainly garner major buzz around San Diego, but signing him would also limit our ability to make any other significant moves.
Other potential, and cheaper, free agent third baseman options include; the aging Josh Donaldson, Marwin Gonzalez, Jung-Ho Kang, and Logan Forsythe. Unless the Padres believe Hudson Potts is their answer at third come 2020, the Padres may be forced to trade for someone given their options outside of Machado in free agency.
Another option would be to sign a long-term shortstop and move Tatis over to third. Tatis reminds me a lot of Manny Machado in terms of their build and tools. Both lengthy with good arms and good power. Moving Tatis to third could pave the way for the Padres to sign a free agent shortstop like Jose Iglesias. Not the best option in terms of offensive production, but an absolute stud with the glove. He would not be a bad option for the Padres, who have been desperate for defensive production up the middle for years.
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