1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “PADRES–DECISION DAYS COMING”

Posted by on December 5th, 2023  •  0 Comments  • 



He’s done some wild things while at the Winter Baseball meetings.

Here’s the question that must be answered right now about the 2024-Padres season, because this topic is what impacts every other move.

How can the Padres win if you trade your star slugger?
How can the Padres win you keep your star slugger?
He has his hands full.

He, being AJ Preller, the once famous Rock Star GM, who hasn’t done much in terms of getting this team deep into the playoffs, much less the World Series.

The GM who was given a blank check by the late Peter Seidler, then overspent it.  All the while stockpiling a ton of talent, like the Fab Four, handing out enormously long 11-12-14 year contracts.

The GM who stripped mined the farm system twice, to make significant blockbuster trades.

His club has had 2-epic collapses in pennant races and a gruesome season of underachievement last summer.

And now in Nashville, he is at a crossroads, with his team, and probably his career.

Fix an unbalanced roster.  Solve a financial issue with the payroll.  Fix a suddenly wafer-thin pitching staff, where free agent defections, opt out clauses, and injuries, have left them with a very weak pitching staff.

And then there is the Juan Soto contract situation.  They pulled off a (6-for-2) trade to get him from Washington.  The theory is they would have him for 3-pennant races.  He staggered his first season in San Diego.  The team foundered badly last year.  And now facing a ‘walk year’ before he enters free agency, Preller has an enormous decision ahead of him.

People forget, in trading for Soto, they also traded for his agent, Scott Boras, who takes all his clients to free agency at a rich price tag.

So many crossroad questions at this hour.

Keep Soto for the 2024 season and hope he leads a star studded batting order to get the Padres to play deep into October.

Keep Soto till the trade deadline, and if not in the race, deal him away for the final two months of the season and hope you can reclaim some talent from the team that rents him.

Trade him now, play the price is right, with the bidders reportedly the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Blue Jays and make the deal this week in Nashville.

To maximize the haul you could get in a deal, give the Yankees permission to talk to agent Scott Boras about a contract extension if Soto was dealt to New York, so the Yankees would have cost certainty, and might be willing to include the kind of instant talent haul Preller is asking for in a swap.

But this week at Opryland is so much more than just solving the Soto equation.

It’s finding starters 3-4-5 in a rotation that has holes everywhere.

It’s solving the mystery of the Trent Grisham situation in centerfield.  If not him, who, or why can’t he hit.

It’s filling a hole at 1st base, and solving two substandard seasons of Jake Cronenworth.

It’s also configuring who is to be a potent DH guy.

And of course there is the hope he does not revisit what he did twice, shipping out the bluechip players in the farm system, not once, but twice, in his long tenure as GM.

Everytime I turned on a playoff game, there was a hot ex-Padre doing something for another team, from Max Fried to Zach Eflin to Trea Turner and many more.

Having to reduce payroll from 254M to about 200M is a challenge.  As of Monday, with Soto on the roster, Preller had just 18M budget breathing room.

How do you fill your holes with that limited money?

Trade Soto and that gives you another 33M in money to go get players?

If you try to trade for the 1-year rentals, can you do that without shedding top minor league talent.  Corbin Burnes (Brewers)..Shane Bieber (Cleveland) head that list.

Do you risk going after a pitcher with troubled spots on their resumes, the ex-Dodgers, Trevor Bauer-Julio Urias?

Do you rent pitchers who have a history of injuries, like Alex Wood, Brandon Woodruff and the likes?

Can he go to Japan and access a starter like Shoto Iganama?  Is there another Nick Martinez-Robert Suarez-Luis Garcia find of a resurrected pitcher over there?

Will he deal for arms in the Rule 5-draft, guys who did not make it and have been left exposed-unprotected?

The GM who won the Winter Meetings with a 2am deal for Matt Kemp years ago, needs every hour of the day and night in Nashville, to fix this mess.

And make no mistake about it, he created this mess, with past deals, the contracts given out, and the trades made.

The excitement created a year ago this time, is gone, replaced by a roster full of issues, a limited checking account, and the knowledge this might be his final Winter Baseball Meetings, if he cannot to fill the potholes he has created.

Decision days are coming. Problems every place.  Solutions needed


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