Although the Padres haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, managing partner Peter Seidler told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he isn’t going to rush the franchise’s current rebuild. Seidler acknowledged that the Padres’ future-minded strategy probably won’t begin paying dividends at the major league level until 2019 at the earliest. That strategy has come into focus this year, with the team having outspent every other club on the international market this month.
After signing 10 top international prospects July 2, San Diego added another – 17-year-old Cuban left-hander Adrian Morejon – for a sizable $11MM bonus on Friday. The Padres had already soared past their league-allotted bonus pool by then, meaning that they’ll pay a 100 percent luxury tax on the Morejon signing. As such, they effectively picked him up for $22MM and have now spent in the neighborhood of $60MM on international free agents this year. The Padres’ allocation of international cash is currently, in their judgment, “the smartest place to spend money,” according to Seidler.
“In the context of baseball, it’s two years of Zack Greinke,” he continued. “It’s two years of Clayton Kershaw. For us, we get 20 high-ceiling teenagers. Most of them ultimately are not going to make it to Petco Park. But if four or five of them are impact players at Petco?”
Eventually joining those players in the majors could be several prospects from this year’s amateur draft, in which the Padres had six of the first 85 picks – including three first-round selections.
“This franchise’s history in the amateur draft — as far as having impactful players play for the Padres in the major leagues — is probably as bad as it gets,” Seidler stated. “We have confidence that what we are building is going to completely reverse that.”
Shifting gears to the major league side, the 38-49 Friars have the second-worst record in the NL West and will no doubt look to sell as the Aug. 1 deadline nears. The team has already jettisoned right-hander James Shields and cashed in 39-year-old reliever Fernando Rodney for a prospect, and it hasn’t ruled out trading its best starter of 2016 – lefty Drew Pomeranz – writes Shaikin.
Pomeranz, 27, is making a paltry $1.35MM this season and has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining, but the All-Star is scheduled to become a free agent when the Padres’ prospective window of competing, 2019, opens. Given his eminently affordable contract and excellent production – he ranks fifth in the majors in ERA (2.47) and 10th in strikeouts per nine innings (10.15) – Pomeranz could be one of the most appealing players available around the deadline. While the Padres aren’t against selling high on him, the same isn’t true regarding first baseman Wil Myers.
“He’s not going to be traded,” Seidler declared, and executive chairman Ron Fowler told Shaikin that Myers is “the type of guy we want to build this team around.”
As a result, Fowler is hopeful the Padres and Myers, a 25-year-old All-Star, can work out an extension. Myers is earning barely over the league minimum this year and is controllable through arbitration for three more seasons. The ex-Ray and former premier prospect has hit a tremendous .293/.358/.535 with 19 home runs in 371 plate appearances, also adding 15 stolen bases on 18 attempts. Thanks largely to his output at the plate and on the base paths, Myers has already been worth 3.5 fWAR – tied for the 11th-highest total among position players this year.
“The way we’re building this business is really straightforward,” said Seidler. “It’s all about building a core of high-ceiling, home-grown talent. That does go back to the way the best sports franchises in any of the major sports have always been run.”
Myers isn’t homegrown, but he’s clearly a high-ceiling player. And Seidler’s Padres hope Myers and a cavalcade of talented prospects can eventually lead the franchise back to relevance in the coming years.