Once upon a time, there was a baseball club that sold off all their aging players, embarked upon a rebuild, and came out the other side looking rosy. What a concept! With a cache of young, budding stars in the fold after a few meager years, they invested heavily in adding veteran pieces to complement them, in the process transitioning from boring afterthought to the most exciting, intriguing team in the game.
Of course, those San Diego Padres are stuck in the same division as the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers, the juggernaut of Major League Baseball at the moment. And while the Pads have laid an effective groundwork for a string of successful seasons to come, there’s no denying that they are still a few good pieces away from truly challenging the Dodgers’ superiority on the left coast.
With that in mind, we’re going to spend a quick minute highlighting on this baseball blog three things that glorious yellow & brown baseball team can do to catch up with the Dodgers.
Acquire P Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds
Sonny Gray, pitcher currently on the payroll of the Cincinnati Reds, has been positively brilliant since coming over from the New York Yankees. On top of that, he’s under control for either two or three more years, depending upon the mood of his front office, and will do so at a bargain-budget rate. In fact, he’s so bargain-budget it’s impossible to think of any of the 30 billion-plus dollar franchises in baseball not falling over themselves to have him on a payroll, but I digress.
Anyway, despite the promise of MacKenzie Gore and Chris Paddack flanking Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger going forward, the latter half of that foursome is fighting elbow problems galore. Clevinger, the club’s big mid-2020 acquisition, is out for 2021 after Tommy John surgery. So, adding an ace like Sonny - who has already thrived in Pacific Time in his career - would seem to make sense for the Padres. Or any club. Any club.
Acquire 3B Eugenio Suarez from the Cincinnati Reds, too
Manny Machado is on the Pads’ books for a third of a billion bucks already, and he plays 3B. If he’s not playing 3B, he’s a SS by trade, but that spot’s blocked by budding superstar Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Of course, the Padres have long flirted with the idea of moving Tatis to CF, and that’s something their roster could certainly stomach by adding Suarez, an in-prime star who, like Gray, is signed to such a team friendly deal that it’s impossible to think of any of the 30 billion-plus dollar franchises in baseball not falling over themselves to have him on a payroll, but I digress once again.
Add-in that there’s the likelihood of a DH in 2022 at the latest, and 2021 again at the earliest, and this seems like a slam-dunk move to help blast dingers above and beyond their Southern California rivals.
Reacquire P Luis Castillo, this time from the Cincinnati Reds
Once upon a time, the Padres acquired Luis Castillo, then in a deal involving Andrew Cashner facilitated by the then-hapless Miami Marlins. Thing was, that deal involved P Colin Rea, too, and Rea showed up in Miami with an elbow held together by chawed-on Big League Chew. So, commissioner Fred Manrob made the two clubs make amends for the shady move, in effect forcing San Diego to send Castillo back to Miami and take what remained of the existing ligaments in Rea’s elbow back.
Just imagine where these Padres would be right now had that move not fallen apart. They’d boast an in-prime freak atop their rotation, armed with a 98 mph fastball, the most wicked changeup in the game, and have him under team control for three more seasons while he’s still cheaply making $4-5 million in 2021. Castillo is such a prized asset at this point in his career that it’s impossible to think of any of the 30 billion-plus dollar franchises in baseball not falling over themselves to have him on a payroll, but here I am swimming in a giant vat of digression sauce one more time.
Anyway, adding Castillo is both a win-now move and a move to sustain a club for the future, something any team with any interest in actually winning baseball games while claiming to play the sport of baseball should do. The Padres seem like one of those clubs at the moment, so it would only make sense they capitalize courtesy of a club that doesn’t have those some intentions in mind.