Every year, I've been privileged to join a big big group of likeminded baseball nuts to do a 3 day simulation of the off-season. Its a frantic and often crazy time where players in past years have gone for half a billion dollars and top prospects and players are tossed around like chips on a craps table. So with that in mind here is what our San Diego Padres did.
If you want to see the whole thing and all the trades, just click this link: https://www.royalsreview.com/2021/11/7/22768443/the-2020-sb-nation-off-season-simulation-official-thread
My top priority: Cut payroll below the luxury tax line. Build much better depth.
According to our sim, the luxury tax was at about $174m, and with everything going on I was at about $154m. While I'm already under the line, I don't have much (any) room to do anything and things had to be done. Its understandable that in the sim (and given our past history) we'd want to cut some payroll, especially with two obvious albatrosses. So I went about cutting payroll where I could. As for depth I took that in terms of what happened last year especially in pitching and in the farm system. When push came to shove we got brutalized in terms of depth and weren't able to recover. Let's not forget Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrietta were the starters for our 'do or die' weekend in St Louis; Never.....again.
Options: Extended to Pierce Johnson, refused to Craig Stammen, Jake Marisnick, Keone Kela. Mark Melancon refused his option.
I suppose the only surprise is Stammen but I've never been very impressed with him and he's definitely pricey for his age and performance so I sent him on his way.
Cutting the biggest contracts
Nationals trade 1B Josh Bell and RHP Seth Shuman to the Padres for Eric Hosmer, Reiss Knehr, and $6.5 million
Padres trade OF Wil Myers to Giants for 3B Casey Schmitt & LHP Sammy Long
Padres trade RHP Yu Darvish to the Yankees for pitchers Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, and Yoenys Gomez
Obviously what had to be done was getting rid of our biggest albatrosses, Hosmer and Myers. Surprisingly the latter was easiest to trade. The A's spoke with me about OF Stephen Pischotti but he wasn't much of an improvement over what we got from Myers even with him being cheaper. The Giants came back and offered some prospects and to take on the full salary so off I went, and secured their 17th and 20th prospects. Schmitt has great potential at the hot corner and Long could be a useful bullpen piece now or a great depth piece in El Paso. The Hosmer trade came about because the Nationals are looking to tank and tank hard. What started as "trade us Gore" led to a discussion of what's the right amount of money and offsets. In the end I saved about $3.5m this year and of course more next year, got my one year replacement first baseman and their 28th prospect who could maybe be a useful bullpen piece down the line. And it cost me a pitcher I have seen in person twice and was not impressed with. Honestly I'm just happy to get rid of him and save money moving forward.
And then there's the Darvish deal; to be honest I'm not a fan of Yu and I think he's expensive with questionable results especially when baseball cracked down on substances used in game. The Yanks wanted him and I got their 4th, 5th and 10th best prospects, most importantly the former two could start now. Gil has the best stuff and the easiest delivery in their system, Schmidt has better command (but not control) and more pitches, and both give me depth not just at the majors but at El Paso. Gomez is further behind but has some of the best command in the yanks system and three very good pitches, he could be a steal.
With these three moves I got rid of about $57m, so what did I do moving forward?
The Main Roster
Padres trade OF Jorge Ona to the Diamondbacks for 1B/OF Pavin Smith Padres trade RHP Austin Adams to Diamondbacks for LF David Peralta Padres trade Estuery Ruiz to the Diamondbacks for Luke Weaver Padres trade Adam Frazier to the Blue Jays for P Ryan Borucki Padres sign Joc Pederson to a 2 year, $14 million deal with a $7 million player option Padres sign Avisail Garcia to a 3 year, $36 million deal with a $7.5 million player option Padres sign OF Lewis Brinson 1 year $2 million Padres sign Carlos Martinez to a 1 year, $2.5 million deal Padres sign Kirby Yates to a 1 year, $2 million deal
Here's where some of that money then proceeded to go. Clearly I enjoyed trading with the DBacks and while I didn't acquire Ketel Marte I got alot of value elsewhere for very little. Peralta is my starting LF for one year, is a very good outfielder and was a Padre killer. Smith is young, can play 3 or so positions and provides great hitting and pop with decent defense. Weaver is just more depth at a decent price. All three of those guys cost me very little, primarily people who had no purpose any longer in the org. Frazier wasn't a long term fit and in Borucki I have yet another starting option who has already been great in the bullpen.
From there I started signing; Garcia is my answer at RF and came at a very good price, he's played great defense and brings a bunch of offense. He's basically a perfect RF option. Pederson plays the field well and is a good bench option who could spell Gresham or any other OF position. Brinson was a last second signing for depth but would likely be cut given that I signed Pederson not long after. Martinez and Yates are depth for the bullpen and it's great to bring the latter home.
Rebuilding the Farm/Clearing out non effective players
Padres trade Austin Nola and Trey Wingenter to the Tigers for Michael Fulmer and Tanner Kohlhepp Padres trade Michael Fulmer to Angels for SS Jermiah Jackson & LHP Ky Bush Padres trade Emilio Pagan and Kevin Kopps to the Cardinals for Angel Rondon Padres trade Ps Chris Paddack and Matt Strahm to the Red Soxs for Ps Jay Groome, Chris Murphy & Thaddeus Ward Padres trade Ryan Weathers to the Rangers for Ronny Henriquez and Curtis Terry Padres trade Mackenzie Gore to the A's for AJ Puk
I'm sure there's alot of people looking at this and wondering if I lost my mind. The truth is that, for better or worse, very few of the traded players have become what we hoped for at this state. You could blame any number of things from injuries (Nola, Strahm) to failure because of their own and coaches (Wingenter, Pagan) to their own inability to step up (Paddack) and too high expectations (Gore/Weathers). AJ wouldn't be making these deals with a full offseason and a new pitching coach but for me, I needed to clear out players who wouldn't work as a long term part of the team. What's more important, I needed to add more depth to the farm system in the event I need to trade yet again at the deadline. Fulmer hurt because I could've used another closer option but I felt like I had sufficient depth. And of course there's Gore BUT you could shove Puk into the starting rotation NOW and get success when healthy. Beyond that I received
The Tigers' 26th prospect
The Yankees' 3rd, 4th & 10th prospects
The Angels' 5th and 7th prospects
The Red Sox's 8th, 11th & 14th prospects
The Cardinals' 16th prospect
The Rangers' 15th and 18th prospects
Half of them are options to play now or in the next year and they include Puk, Groome, Murphy, Gil & Schmidt. I could have Rondon, Ward and Kohlhepp in two years and the rest within three years. But most importantly I can weather damn near any storm that happens to the pitching staff with plenty of options for recovery, and all of whom are very talented.
Minor league deals: P Trevor Cahill, RP Brad Brach, RP Nate Jones, RP Oliver Perez, C Austin Romine, INF Colin Moran, UTL Marwin Gonzalez
Padres sign Jeury Familia to a 1 year, $800k deal
These guys provide proven major league depth in the minors and Familia has an opportunity to rebuild value. And the Pads are usually very good at getting the most out of cast offs.
So what do the 2022 Padres look like:
I believe I have a better bench with the additions of Pederson and Smith and a better outfield than last year for sure. Bell is what he is, and that's one year that I can handle. Campusano is ready to start and its time to get Nola out of the way. I traded some 'name power' in Darvish and Paddack to bring in young controllable guns. And I have depth at El Paso and more to weather any more bad injury situations to the roster. And with a returning core of Cro-Tatis-Machado-Gresham as well as a returning top group of Snell-Clevinger-Musgrove I believe I can go toe to toe with anyone.