Before going into the weekend, we had a little news nugget from the MLB Hot Stove. Reports have surfaced linking the San Diego Padres to Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. As of right now, these are just rumors. The Mets don’t want to trade Syndergaard. But it’s worth noting that the Padres are interested in acquiring him or any big starting pitcher. The story is that the Padres are shopping for other team’s stars and not theirs.
The Padres have basically been in baseball’s basement since Matt Holliday touched home in 2007. But here we are. Ten years later, and San Diego is shopping for their horse to start their run at a championship.
The Padres have spent the last few years building to this moment. Their farm system is baseball’s best. They’ve committed long-term money to Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, and they’ve managed to dump the deals they didn’t need because they just weren’t relevant. Within the next two years, the eight top prospects in San Diego’s system are expected to debut and be regular contributors on the team. They have the best shortstop prospect, Fernando Tatis, and the best second base prospect, Luis Urias, and the second-best catching prospect, Francisco Mejia. This just means that they’re probably going to have the best up the middle group in the National League by the end of 2020.
The insane prospect depth also allows them to shop for a guy like Syndergaard, or the next best thing if the Mets really are intending on keeping him. Any star on a team fading from contention is on the radar. The lack of committed cash allows them to inherit what most teams might consider to be an overwhelming contract or players that might demand an overwhelming contract. It also means that these next two monster offseasons are the Padres to run. Bats like Nolan Arenado, Marcell Ozuna, and Aaron Hicks are all projected free agents next year, while arms like Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, and Madison Bumgarner will join them.
On top of the prospect depth and the likely flow of free agents headed towards the Padres, they’re getting good when the rest of their division is either stuck in neutral or fading out of contention. The Diamondbacks are reportedly ready to sell everyone and start a rebuild for themselves. I wrote about the Giants being stuck in a tough spot due to their lack of prospects and bad contracts. The Rockies have made no progress towards extending their perennial MVP candidate Nolan Arenado and cannot convince a top-tier starting pitcher to come to their hitter-friendly ballpark. And, the Dodgers are the Dodgers. The current ownership will refuse to not contend, but they can’t deny that Clayton Kershaw is only getting older and so is much of their core. They’ll be the challenger to the rising Padres simply because of their willingness to spend and their always full farm system.
Give the Padres’ homegrown talent a year to mature in the show. Big league at-bats with big league pressure. The free agent crop should be the Padres’ to pick over. They’ll have the space to be kings of the offseason and fill any void the trade market and their system won’t be able to fill and the division is trending downwards while they start their rise. This is how a wagon is made.
The Syndergaard rumor should raise eyebrows. It’s the official start to the San Diego Padres becoming good again. This is the perfect storm for the Padres. I called it on my Twitter @CURRAN_QUINLAN a few days ago and I’m calling it now–The San Diego Padres will be the 2021 World Series Champions.
Photo via San Diego Tribune