Today, Gabe Kapler wrote about James Shields (not a Padre). Shields has apparently moved to San Diego. Also today, Yu Darvish (also not a Padre, and currently on DL) cleared waivers, meaning no team felt it worth it to claim him (likely because the Rangers would just pull him back, making the whole thing purposeless). Both are pitchers inarguably in the top 5 in the AL, when healthy.
This got me thinking about the Padres and free agent pitching. Darvish went through the posting system, and the Padres did not get him. It really didn't make sense that they would, given the amount of money it took to sign him (well over $100M for six years). Shields will command the same this offseason, likely from the Yankees, Seattle, or the Cubs (sigh, Dreamboat Jed.).
The Padres clearly did not claim Darvish, despite the longevity left on his contract. The worst thing that could have happened, financially, is that Texas would have stuck the team with the full financial commitment remaining (which, at $10m per season, is a steal- and would not have happened, ever). The Padres will also not end up with Shields, because he probably wants to play for a team with a better shot at the playoffs, who will also happen to pay him giant sums of money to pitch very well.
The question becomes: Why not? Why won't the Padres make a play at Shields, or put in a claim on a guy like Darvish? None of us have the expectation that they will, yet it might actually make some sense. With the terms left on the Darvish deal, or the 6+ years Shields will get this offseason, either would be a tremendous help, even to a bad-to-middling team with little playoff hopes in the near future.
I'm not asinine, or suggesting the team trade parts for Stanton, or even suggesting they go overpay for a top of the line starter who may help them with a playoff push in 3-5 years, which seems to be the expected competition timeline. But why not get better in the short term, and give the young guys a true ace to learn from?