A.J. Preller is trying to create a different mentality around his ball club this season in San Diego, and his offseason acquisitions prove a change is coming.
This offseason the San Diego Padres claimed Greg Garcia off waivers from the Cardinals, acquired Ian Kinsler and Garrett Richards via free agency, and signed Manny Machado to a club record 10-year/$300 million contract.
While Richards will most likely not put on a Padres uniform until 2020 due to Tommy John surgery, the other three will look to make an impact this season.
Greg Garcia will look to act as a mentor to many of the young players, and help instill a winning mentality within the locker room. In an interview with Annie Heilbrunn of the Union-Tribune, Garcia states how happy he was to be a part of the Cardinals organization and believes his time there will help him mentor some of the younger players to play and approach the game “the right way” in a Padres uniform.
Ian Kinsler, a 14-year veteran in the league, could arguably make a greater impact on Luis Urias than Manny Machado may. The four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner plays the same position as Urias and could be crucial in how Urias develops as both a shortstop and second baseman later on in the season. Andy Green and A.J. Preller believe Kinsler will be crucial in developing a winning mentality in the clubhouse. They believe he can bring much-needed experience and become a mentor for an infield that could feature one of the youngest double play combinations later this season when Fernando Tatis Jr. arrives.
Manny Machado is the biggest free agent signing in Padres history and is certainly worth the 10 years, $300 million contract that was given to him by the team. Machado fits San Diego’s needs perfectly, He is a young controllable star at a position of need for the Padres. His presence at third base and in the lineup every day will allow the Padres to finally have stability in the middle of the lineup and at the hot corner.
It’s not just his ability on both sides of the ball that has Hall of Famer and Padres legend Trevor Hoffman excited about the signing. It is the edge and fire Machado plays with that Hoffman and the front office believe can help flip the switch in San Diego. During Tuesday’s spring training game against the Mariners, Hoffman was asked by Mark Sweeney of Fox Sports San Diego what he liked about the signing. “It brings a little bit of an edge to everybody… It’s a welcome sight to have a superstar dressing in the locker-room… there’s a lot of baseball chatter going on which is what I like to see…” Machado’s presence in the lineup and in the clubhouse will help install a winning mindset and a winning culture in San Diego and is definitely a character that a Tatis Jr. or Urias can look up too.
By signing someone of Machado’s talent the Padres have shifted the team’s mentality. A.J Preller has given this team that an edge to their style of play that has been lacking in recent years. His competitive fire, and will to do anything to win is something the rest of the team can feed off of, and help create a different mentality this season.
The Padres most likely will not make the playoffs this season, as there are still major holes in this roster that need to be addressed over the course of this season as well as next year’s free agency before they can truly compete in the N.L. West. By taking the right steps to create a winning mentality and culture this season, the Padres will start moving in the right direction in order to compete for Division Titles and Pennants down the road.
Signing someone like Greg Garcia, who was brought through the Cardinals organization and plays the game the right way, gives the Padres depth where they did not have depth last season. Acquiring a veteran leader and Gold Glove winner in Ian Kinsler gives the Padres the right mind to mentor their young players. In addition, by bringing in the best free agent fit for your team on the market in Manny Machado, who brings an edge to his game that hasn’t been around the Padres clubhouse for years, will help create a different mentality for years to come.
A.J. Preller is making the right moves to create a different mentality in San Diego this season, but only time will tell if these moves will pay off for him and the Padres.