Padres stepping up in tough yearBy Matt Verderame
The San Diego Padres are going to be missing the playoffs once more in 2016. Nobody will be looking at San Diego at the end of the season and talking about what a great job it did, mostly because it will likely lose at least another 85games or so before everything is set and done.
Still, this campaign should be viewed as a positive step for a team that has been stuck in either reverse or neutral for the better portion of two decades.
Instead of simply standing put and doing nothing, Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been actively trying to make the team more watchable down the line. After acquiring starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz for little more than a bag of baseballs before the season, Pomeranz shocked everyone by becoming an All-Star. While most anticipated Pomeranz staying with the Padres due to years of team control, Preller dealt him to the Boston Red Sox for a package that included Anderson Espinoza, one of the best prospects in the game.
In past years, this trade never would have happened. San Diego would have balked at getting rid of the known quantity, and even if it did, it would have been more about getting back ample players instead of the right one. According to Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski, that’s not the case any more.
“I’d rather trade three [lesser]-type guys than Anderson, but that wasn’t appealing to San Diego,” Dombrowski said. “They really wanted more of the focus of the premium guy. There’s always risk with pitchers, no matter how old they are. We know that Drew hasn’t thrown this many innings. We think he can handle it. We also know there’s a risk in Anderson, a young pitcher that we like a great deal.”
At 41-51, the Padres are still a bad team with fans left to wonder when things are going to turn around. Yet, with Preller at the helm and Espinoza in the wings, there has to be some level of hope.
If the general manager is smart, he keeps moving pieces for high-end, young talent. It’s the only way San Diego will ever get better for the long haul.