There is no doubt in my mind that the San Diego Padres are still being constructed to a certain degree. A.J. Preller has been on the job for two years, and with that, he is roughly halfway through his rebuilding program.
The farm system, especially at the lower levels, has been restocked after being ransacked to a certain degree. Between the international draft and the amateur draft, the Padres have collected so many potential top prospects that it makes your head spin. For the first time in decades, Padres fans are aware of the prospects names and are excited about their future. Fans are following players on the computer and live streaming their starts on MiLB.com. The Padres farm system is definitely on the rise. The prospect showcase that is to take place in October is going to be very exciting.
Anderson Espinoza, Logan Allen, Jacob Nix, Austin Smith, Hansel Rodriguez, Enyel De Los Santos, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Dinelson Lamet, Andrew Lockett, Michael Kelly, Adrian Morejon, Reggie Lawson, Chris Paddack, and Mason Thompson provide the team with many quality options as far as starting pitchers go. They are all in different stages of development, and some will be ready sooner than others to contribute at the major league level. However, not one of them will be ready once the 2017 season starts, with the exception of Locket, Kelly, and Lamet. The trio will need to have an extraordinary spring to land a job though.
The Padres future is very bright, but still they lack players in certain positions to be considered a viable playoff team in the near future. There are questions that plague the team and there are no clear answers for the franchise.
Is Luis Sardinas the answer for the next few seasons at short until the “kids” are ready to play? What about pitching for 2017? Who is the catcher long-term? The answer seems obvious, but can the Padres get a decent return for Derek Norris? Then there is the outfield and second base positions. Both positions are one of surplus for the Padres and they need to turn their lopsided assets into a positive for the team.
There are tons of unanswered questions regarding the future of this team, and more specifically the 2017 season. A.J. Preller is not one to sit on his team and do nothing, so there will be some fine-tuning. At the same time, he is not one to make a deal for the heck of it, and will surely hold off until he feels he is getting equal value in a potential trade. Derek Norris will ONLY be dealt if a team pays a decent price tag. I know his value is down after a horrible offensive year, but he is still under team control for the next few seasons and is a leader in the clubhouse. You have to think his offensive funk was a result of all the uncertainty about his future in San Diego. Or at least that is what you hope.
So let’s explore where the team has depth currently, and also delve into where the Padres need immediate help (with the emphasis being the 2017 season). There are endless directions in which A.J. Preller and Padres management may go. They are a very difficult regime to predict, however, and pride themselves in doing things their own way.
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