For San Diego fans, this winter felt as if the franchise was beginning to turn the page. A.J. Preller was installed as the new GM, and he immediately started trading prospects and acquiring major league talent. Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, and Craig Kimbrel were all brought in to usher in the new era of the competitive Padres, led by Preller.
However as we all know, that didn't work, and the Padres sit at 39-48, 9.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. Now, just as quickly as Preller brought in new talent, it seems that he'll be shipping a lot of it back out, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Sources indicate the Padres are prepared to sell and buy simultaneously. Free-agents-to-be Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable are obvious trade candidates. Club-controllable pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross intrigue many teams, while closer Craig Kimbrel has pitched just twice in July. Meantime, the Padres continue to be on the prowl for such commodities as an everyday shortstop, more balance for a right-handed-heavy offense and young, major league-ready talent in general.
Those obvious trade candidates are the most likely to bring back the big returns that the front office is looking for: controllable, major league ready talent.
The trade market hasn't defined itself yet, with the Reds and Phillies seemingly holding everything up. However once the first major player has been traded, it should set off a domino effect, and cause other GM's to start making deals.
A winter filled with bravado and a ton of activity hasn't led to much on-field success, which included firing manager Bud Black. Despite the disappointing record, Preller appears to have the backing from ownership, with President and CEO Mike Dee making it clear that he was pleased with what Preller had done, giving him credit for "rolling the dice".
Going forward, Preller should have a leash long enough to roll the dice again. The team, according to Lin, is still planning to be active in free agency this winter. They already have more than $60 million committed to four players for the 2016 roster, it appears that the team's budget - which was $109 million this season- is prepared to get another bump.