|Padres: Rebuilding, rebuilding, rebuilding|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on March 05, 2010
It was inevitable that the Padres would deal Jake Peavy last season, it was also inevitable that they'd get some highly rated young talent for him.Â The Padres were a bad team who didn't have a lot going for them and were faced with budgetary issues as well as a lack of high caliber talent capable of helping them compete.Â What they had were a few valuable chips which could bring high returns.
Peavy is gone, and the only real question is if it will be Adrian Gonzalez or Heath Bell who go next.Â Obviously Gonzalez is the bigger chip and he'll bring major returns, but Gonzalez is signed through 2011, while Bell only signed a one year deal covering this season.Â That pretty much assures that Bell won't be a Padre when the trading deadline passes in July.Â But what about Gonzalez?
That probably means that Gonzalez will be traded sometime in July and heading to a contender.Â While speculating where he'll end up might be fun, it's the Padres, not the winner of the Gonzalez sweepstakes who are the focus of this piece and what's important for them will be what they can get in return.Â That will almost certainly include some ready or almost Major League ready talent.
What has to be on the mind of Padres management is just how soon they'll want that talent to be ready.Â That long term outlook will determine just when the Padres think they will be ready to field a competitive team, and when they'll be ready to start spending a little bit of money.
Building a homegrown core is hardly a novel idea.Â Several teams, most notably the Twins and Rays, have done it.Â But it took time, a lot of time in some cases, and both teams have shown that building a talent pipeline can be sustained even in the age of free agency.Â But being competitive takes more than just developing that talent, or even sustaining it.Â It involves getting that talent to all grow up at the same time so that they can gel into a team before talent starts getting bled away due to financial considerations.
How far away are the Padres?Â Realistically it probably will take them at least two more seasons, probably three, before we see the fruit of this plan being borne.Â For now they'll have to settle for small successes and figuring out just which of many young players they have will fit into their plans down the road.