“Good Deal or Bad Trade”
The Padres are trying to claw their way back into the fight for first place in the National League West.
It’s trading deadline week for GM-AJ Prellar, and it’s his time of the year. Give him a deadline, whether it is July 30th or at the Winter Baseball Meetings, and he will react.
On the field, we are watching this fight for first place between the Giants and Dodgers. In a couple of weeks, the Padres will move into the firefight against LA and San Francisco, whom they have 18-games to be played the rest of the season.
The Sunday night surprise trade to import All Star 2nd baseman Adam Frazier came at a cost, top prospect infielder-outfielder Tucu Marcano and two lower prospects.
Keeping score at home, Prellar has now traded 24-prospects in various transactions over the last 2-plus seasons. He has no fear of packaging young players he signed to get the right guys in trades.
Oddly in all the transactions he has made, starting with the Franmil Reyes-Cleveland trade and progressing thru this Pirates deal, few of the young players he has sent packing have flourished at the major league level consistently. The returns for the Padres have been positive.
And now we await the next deal, with rumors everywhere that Prellar wants to rent Washington Nationals ace Max Scheerzer, a likely free agent at the end of the season. The price will be steep and there’s not much left to deal in that farm system.
A couple of items to consider.
As Prellar has shuttled all this young talent, most of them 19-to-24 years of age, he has stripped the farm system nearly bare. Heading into the weekend, the Padres top four farmclubs were a combined (24) games under .500, none of them having a winning record.
Yes the deals have elevated the Padres to chasing a pennant, but by dealing all its youth away, there is not much of a future. The window to win is tightening, as Prellar brings in players 24-to-32-years of age.
What happens if this window closes and they have not gotten to the World Series or the NLCS?
Prelllar’s deals have pushed the Padres into the Luxury Tax area as a first time offender. The first time tax won’t be a deterrent. A year from now, or two seasons out, the Padres would incur a big penalty for the tax limits.
The Padres (34-19) start is gone. The team is (24-25) since then. A Scherzer deal elevates them back into the race, and would prevent the Giants or Dodgers from renting him for 3-months..
But in the big picture of things, you get Scherzer but you also get his agent Scott Boras, and that might mean an extension of 25M a year to keep the pitcher with the Padres starting next year. Circle back to the luxury tax issue and now you have a magnified problem.
Things change financially if you send 1B-Eric Hosmer or RF-Wil Myers to the Nationals in that type of deal
Everything is inter-related in these type of deals like a chain link fence. Prospects leave for a rent-a-vet. Paying a piece of a Hosmer-Myers contract, eats away at your checking account. Pushing over the luxury tax takes away more money. And soon your farm system gas tank runs on empty.
On the baseball front, getting Adam Frazier is a quality upgrade of a multi position grinder. But they still have to get a front of the rotation starter, because what’s on the mound right now seems to be running out of gas.
Preller overwhelmed us in his trade conference call about team chemistry, diversity of talent, abilities, versatility and all. You don’t get talent (Frazier) without giving up talent (Marcano) but what happens when all the water is drawn out of the well and the clock runs out on these veteran players?
The GM is surely not MIA at this time of the year. Proactive-not reactive, and that’s good because we know the Giants and Dodgers have moves to make.
The Pirate to the Padres-good deal. But there may still be, need to be, a second deal out there. You hope that is not a bad trade, for this year’s team, and I fear for whatever the future looks like in San Diego.