Padres Baseball-Nothing Now-Wairing for the Future”
Cuba, that’s where it’s at, at least the San Diego Padres think so, hope so.
As spring turns to summer, last place Padres baseball has become a reality. Empty seats too at Petco Park.
Wait till next season, or a couple of seasons beyond that, is the reality of Friars baseball right now.
The city has seemingly turned its back on the team, watching bad pitching, infrequent hitting, defensive lapses and losses upon losses.
The Padres are paying more attention to the future crop of players on the way, and what they will draft in early June, than what is going on here in San Diego.
Hunter Renfroe has shown great resilience in right field. Manny Margot has been very consistent in center. And young outfielder Alan Cordoba, who was in the Class A-Appalachian League this time last year, has been the biggest surprise with his consistency.
There’s not much else to get amped about with the team in this town.
Up next the bidding war for the last big name Cuban on the market, 19-year old outfielder Luis Robert, about to become a millionaire. He will sign before July 2nd when the new International salary cap kicks in.
The Padres, who have spent 91M in signing draft picks and internationals since last June, , think they are still in the bidding, though they face a huge luxury tax payment if they are to sign Robert.
Because of last summer’s signing spree, the Padres have rocketed over the luxury tax threshold. For every international signing, they have to pay a $1 luxury tax for every $1 they spend on Robert.
The asking price is reportedly 20M-package, which means it would cost GM-AJ Preller another 20M tax payment therefore a 40M investment.
Last summer, when they signed 17-year old left-handed pitcher Adrian Morejon they spent 11M on him, and another 11M on a tax fee, an enormous investment.
A new salary cap kicks in this July, and because of their expenditures last year, the Friars will be limited to just $ t300,000- packages for each of the next two years, on any international signings, starting this July.
It’s too early to determine how the investments have gone. Only 1-Cuban is currently playing in the minors, 20-year old outfielder Jorge Ona, who has been rock solid as a .280-hitter in Ft. Wayne.
Within 2-weeks, the Padres will decide what to do with the some 45-international players they have in extended spring training over in Arizona.
The team will field two teams in the Arizona Summer League, stocked with last year’s signing haul, plus what they draft next month in this year’s Amateur draft.
If you take a trip to Lake Elsinore, to see the Friars Class A-team, you can get a sneak preview of the young arms they drafted last June, Cal Quantriill, Joey Lucchessi, Eric Lauer, have been exceptional out of the gate.
The Padres know they have a huge investment to take care of. .
Their blueprint going into last summer was based on the fact, at least 11-clubs, many of them big money, had spent huge amounts in 2014-15 to sign Latin players, and would not be able to write those checks in the summer of 2016.
The Padres jumped in and signed a combined 71-draft picks and those from Latin America. And so we wait.
In Arizona, they are running a baseball school in the morning. The young internationals take English lessons three times a week. There are cultural seminars. Life skill meetings. Counseling.
They stay in a team hotel, have a curfew and are fed two meals a day by a dietician.
The structured environment is about baseball, but also life in America. The Padres have decided to keep Morejon and all the other hot prospects together, seeing value, in helping them develop those on field skills, and those life in the fast lane skills.
Padres sources say they still have money in their checking account to sign Luis Robert, whom they have scouted and meet with. But then again so have the Cardinals and the White Sox, who reportedly are prepared to bid high also, the White Sox deal worth 25M.
A source used the term ‘dry powder’ to describe the money that might be available to sign the last Cuban.
Cuba, something to look forward too. Obvious there’s nothing with the Padres that gives you reason to pay attention to the ‘now’ of this last place baseball season.