When you’re committed to a hand in poker you declare to the table that you are “all in”. You’re putting everything you have in play and at risk. You’re sure either your hand, or your bluff, will work.
As the Padres, apparently, go for broke this year I am forced to consider the merits and consequences of putting everything in the middle.
Does the acquisition of Kemp, Upton, Norris, Myers, et all cripple the Padres farm system?
Certainly it is weaker, but the system still has the top 3 prospects in Matt Wisler, Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges and you can throw Cory Spangenberg in there as a keeper. Let’s not forget, also, several of the players sent away either had injury histories (Wieland, Fried) or they are a long way from being ready (Smith, Eflin, Bauers).
Therefore, farm system: reduced but intact.
It is also worth noting the Padres were rated as the top farm system in baseball as recently as 2 years ago. That means: A)there was plenty of depth and B)stacked farm systems do not, necessarily translate into big league success. Having the top farm didn’t get the big club even 1 additional win this past season. And, as Padre fans are aware, the vast majority of prospects flame out.
What about MLB-level talent? The only true major leaguers who are leaving are Grandal & Rivera. Neither player is anywhere near the level of the players received, though Grandal is an interesting candidate for a breakout. More importantly, the Padres were not relieved of any of their top pitchers. The team is returning the arms that were top-5 in MLB ERA.
So the Padres get some players with established MLB careers in return for, as far as I can tell, much less than the surrendered.
What does this mean? Ultimately, this is the year. The Padres need to adjust expectations from “develop for the future” to “post-season right now”. And I mean, the entire organization has to have that mindset.
It is not as simple as saying “go out and just do what you’re used to doing, what you’ve done in the past”. It is not that simple. Many players and coaches (and the manager) in this organization have no idea what it is like to be expected, or demanded, to perform. There is no precedent. How will this team gel, knowing all the chips are at stake? It is hard to know. There are no metrics for what goes on between the ears.
I want to be giddy but very few teams (save the ’03 Marlins) can take and assortment of individuals and make a team.
Philosophically, is going for anything all at once the best move? Think about life. How many times do people put everything on the line for one shot at anything? Rarely. Typically life happens through hard work and long periods of dedication. The Padres aren’t doing that any longer. The basket is full of eggs. They have to make their move and they must all know it and if things get bumpy, what then?