Padres Write the Check

Posted by on November 4th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

It’s a big day in baseball, the first day of free agency.  
Get ready for a spending spree, a bidding war, and some very big contracts.
This year’s list of over 130-free agents involves 3-front line pitchers, a bunch of big veteran bats, a whole tier of roll players, and the slugger from Cuba.
The Padres new GM-AJ Preller and his five new front office execs, have money to spend.  As of breakfast this morning, they had committed only $40M in contracts.  Of course a big group of young players on the Padres roster will be getting some pay bumps.
But the biggest storyline is not whether the Padres would ever be a player for Max Scherzer (Tigers), Jon Lester (A’s), James Shields (Royals), or any of those big bats, Pablo Sandoval (Giants), Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers) or Victor Martinez (Detroit).
A year ago the signing early that worked out, was the acquisition of outfielder Seth Smith, the ex-Rockies-A’s bat, who had a nice season in San Diego, and got a midseason extension.
A year ago, the first off season signing was disastrous, the $8M-contract given to ex-Marlin-Blue Jays pitcher Josh Johnson, who promptly broke down and never pitching an inning.
This is a new day, and this is a chance for Preller to use his background, his contacts, his persuasion, to put San Diego on the baseball map.
Yasmany Toras is the 23-year old power hitting corner outfielder, who defected from Cuba.  He will not come cheap.  He can hit.  His whole future is ahead of him, and the Padres have money to spend.
Yes it would be shocking for this current ownership group to spend $15M or more on one player.  But why not?  They have increased TV revenues.  They have tremendous s pitching.  They have woeful hitting.  And they have a new front office with tons of contacts in the Latin America market, to be used, to convince them this is the player to go get at the price they need to pay.
Last winter the White Sox signed slugger Jose Abreau from Cuba for a $60M-package.  Mid-season, the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo for $75M.  The Dodgers had inked slugger Yasiel Puig.  Before that the Reds landed Aroldis Chapman, all off the island of Cuba.  All have made it big.
The math is very simple.  You no longer have Chase Headley’s $10.5M contract on the books.  You have let go of Josh Johnson’s 8M-deal.  You shed Huston Street’s $7.5M contract in a trade.  That’s 25M in one year available.
Tomas might want $17M per season.  San Diego can do that, for this one time phenom, and still have significant money to go get other players, and take care of their own in-house players.  He hit (.412) in the World Baseball Classic.  He has dazzled the Red Sox-Dodgers and others in workouts.  The Padres met with him three times.
You can also move people in deals at the upcoming winter meetings.  Move a lst baseman, move a catcher, move a rightfielder.  Maybin-Venable-Alonso can be shopped.  Would you rather have potential in Tomas or a season revisited with the same people we just saw deliver the lowest batting average in baseball.
AJ Preller needs to make a statement; be bold, write a check, and set a standard, using your international connections, to make the Padres a player in the Latin market, and a player in the National League West.
Do it.  Write the check, get the bat, ignite some interest in this city in that downtrodden franchise..
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