The San Diego Padres were not good in 2015. Despite expectations from some that the city could field a winning team on the heels of A.J. Preller’s splashy offseason, the Padres were worse last season than in 2014. Even with all the movement throughout the organization. Even with a new general manager. An entirely new outfield. A new catcher. A new pitcher. An entirely new organizational philosophy. From small-market, prospect-heavy Padres, to leading the trade market all offseason.
Just over a year out from that huge change in organizational philosophy, the Padres have once again changed courses this offseason. After acquiring a horde of new players to improve the offense, and giving up substantial prospect depth in the process, A.J. Preller and company are changing course after the offense stagnated and the team fell into further mediocrity. Whether a mad genius, or just plain mad, Preller is now attempting to pick up the pieces of the Padres confused organization and create a perennial winner.
That’s what this offseason has been all about for the team. With every offseason move so far, the organization’s new philosophy is coming into clearer focus. After burning the farm system to the ground and going all in on a 2016 dream, the Padres are backtracking slightly, adding back talent to the roster that was lost last season.
Even with the strategy coming into clearer focus, the “rebuilding” word has yet to be heard from anyone anywhere near the organization. Quite the contrary, the strategy seems to be attempting to compete while retooling the roster. Whether that strategy is a sound one or not remains to be seen, but the Padres won’t be doing any competing in 2016. With a retooled Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants, and an ever strong Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres are once again relegated to the fourth-best team in the National League West, ahead of only the even more confused Colorado Rockies.
Despite the slim-to-none chances of the Padres succeeding in 2016, this offseason has been a successful one in Southern California. Preller burned the team to the ground last offseason, but has set the team up well for the future in this offseason. The Padres may be two or even three years away from making a meaningful impact. But at this point all the pieces are in place.