Editor’s note: Welcome Scott Tanderup to Friar Forecast. He’ll be a regular contributor. He writes at Padres Future and he’ll be focusing on prospects and the general direction of the organization.
Fellow San Diego Padres fanatics and baseball junkies (you have to be a baseball junkie if you are reading another teams blog), the Padres are about to enter what could be an unprecedented era of sustained success. Past follies, and plenty of them, are in the past. The future looks bright.
For some Padre fans, it’s the same old tune. We have been promised a bumper crop from the farm before, only to find a wilted field full of Tag Bozied and Matt Bush. Others will remind us all of the promises of payroll juggernaut, only to find players paid with peanuts. I am here to tell you this time will be different.
I understand the frustration of fans that expected a Petco payroll in the $70-$80 million range. The reality is… divorce sucks. The Padres payroll, just prior to the John Moores mess was heading north and was at the anticipated range that many fans felt it should have been at. Going through a divorce and having to sell a team in the process has its consequences. Payroll took a nose dive. There is good news. The Moorad group is nearing completion of the purchase of the team. A new TV deal will add additional revenue. The payroll has already started to trend upwards with promises of getting back to that $70-$80 million range. I know, I know, we have been promised this before. Unless Moorad plans to sell the team or has a divorce of his own to contend with, I have no reason to believe the payroll won’t get there.
The other source of fan frustration has been the dismal farm system production over the last several years (and by several I mean longer than I can remember). There is good news on that front as well. Did I say good? I meant great, unprecedented, and spectacular even. I know, I know we have been sold on the farm system before. This time is different. I realize that prospects are just prospects and many of them bust. Once in a while, boom goes the dynamite. The more highly rated prospects a team has, the greater the chance one or more of them pan out. This current crop is in uncharted territory.
The combination of no long-term contract commitments, a commitment to grow payroll over the coming years as the Moorad group takes over, and the exciting bonanza of prospects puts the Padres in a position to dominate the NL West for years to come. Having no current long-term commitments puts the Padres in a position to start wrapping up some young core players to club-friendly deals and keeping payroll low as the farm system provides low cost talent. This situation allows the Padres to then trade from strength to fill specific needs and go out and sign specific players they need to plug any potential holes. Loads of flexibility and a wave of talent coming through the system should give the Padres a long window to win some division titles. They appear to be headed towards the Rays model without having to compete with Boston and New York.
Here is a quick look at the wave of talent coming through the system and what the Padres window could look like. Of course, trades and free agent signings will alter things.
So I say… sit back, relax and wave through the window!