While the Padres don’t look to be much improved at the big-league level, their farm system took a big step forward this offseason. The trades of Joaquin Benoit, Craig Kimbrel, Yonder Alonso, and others brought the Padres back all sorts of good prospects, including two new top-10 prospects in Javier Guerra and Manuel Margot. The Padres clearly had to give up a lot of big-league talent to make these improvements, but the farm system has much more depth than it did after the purge of last offseason. Despite the mistakes of last offseason, A.J. Preller and the front office were able to reverse course and correct some of those mistakes and improve the team’s farm system as a result.
The final part of the Padres offseason to grade is how the team’s chemistry looks going into next season compared to last. Despite all the big time moves that the front office made last offseason, the team lacked any semblance of team chemistry from really the start of the season. It seemed like the roster was largely thrown together with no real team identity or chemistry. The players seemed to get along well enough, but the various pieces just didn’t mesh together to form a complete baseball team. By comparison, almost every move this offseason has been in a made to correct at least some of those problems. While not largely better on paper, the Padres roster does look more well put together and should produce more team chemistry from day one. The parts do better to complement each other and the team looks to mesh a lot better than last year’s roster did.
In total, the Padres have had a rather interesting offseason. Still relatively fresh off of last offseason’s flurry, this year’s offseason has been much quieter by comparison. Even so, the Padres have still made plenty of smart decisions this winter. Trading Craig Kimbrel was probably the team’s best move of the offseason overall. Cashing in on what talent the major league roster did have to enhance the minor league system was just what the team needed. The Padres may not be in a rebuild just yet, or at all, but the team is making smart decisions to set themselves up better for the long-term future. It may not be flashy, but A.J. Preller is righting some of the wrongs of last year’s roster teardown.
Overall Grade: B+
**A version of this article first appeared at BaseballEssential.com