Free brokers Bryce Harper and Manny Machado stay unsigned by means of the primary few days of spring coaching — a improvement that will’ve been stunning only a few years in the past contemplating they’re two of the sport’s greatest superstars.
However in 2019 scorching range information, such a factor is the brand new regular.
The pursuit continues, nonetheless, and the winners in these sweepstakes will clearly obtain a big bump of their offseason grades.
But it surely’s greater than that for 3 of the groups that reportedly have been within the combine: the Padres, Phillies and White Sox. It is the distinction between profitable and extra shedding. The Padres, Phillies and White Sox are among the many 5 groups in MLB with 5 or extra consecutive shedding seasons.
The Reds are exhibiting indicators of competing whereas the Marlins are nonetheless in full rebuild mode. That leaves the opposite three attempting to interrupt these skids. Which franchise wants one or each?
Let’s make the case for the Padres. This can be a likelihood for San Diego to beat greater markets in Philadelphia and Chicago and present it will possibly shell out for prime free brokers. In truth, it must be going all-in for one or each to re-establish some footing within the NL West. It has been a very long time.
That explains the rumored aggressive pursuit of Machado and Harper, even when it is clear a short-term deal will not be sufficient. Aside from the climate — critically, who would not wish to stay in San Diego? — the franchise has work to do if it needs to promote itself as a contender.
The Padres haven’t been the identical since Matt Holliday touched dwelling plate to provide the Rockies the win within the 2007 NL wild-card recreation. San Diego has had just one profitable season since, and Petco Park has a popularity as a pitcher-friendly park even when runs and residential runs elevated final season.
Nonetheless, the impression of including Harper and/or Machado can’t be understated. Harper had 34 homers and 100 RBIs final season with Washington. Machado completed with 37 homers and 107 RBIs between Baltimore and Los Angeles.
Adrian Gonzalez is the final Padres participant to hit 40 homers — which he did with 99 RBIs in 2009. He completed with 31 homers and 101 RBIs the next season.
Since then — or by means of the period of the eight-season shedding streak — San Diego has had seven totally different gamers lead the workforce in dwelling runs.
Wil Myers is the one participant to do it in consecutive seasons and one in all two gamers to hit 30 homers in a single season. Chase Headley is the one San Diego participant to have a season with 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs in that stretch. Matt Kemp is the one different participant to succeed in 100 RBIs in a single season, which he did in 2015.
San Diego has been starved for that superstar-type participant since Gonzalez left, and both Harper or Machado would fill that void and add pop to an offense that has ranked within the backside third in MLB in runs scored yearly since 2008.
There already is optimism in San Diego, too. Myers and Hunter Renfroe are again, and veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler signed a two-year, $Eight million contact within the offseason. The Padres have a powerful farm system — thought-about by many to be the perfect in MLB — that options Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Mejia and Luis Urias. All three could possibly be within the beginning lineup this season. Add a bona fide celebrity to that blend, and the Padres would possibly have the ability to get into the combination in a division the place they’ve completed no greater than third the previous eight seasons.
If that doesn’t appear important now, simply wait till that streak of shedding seasons hits double digits. At that time, there’s no telling how lengthy it would final. Ask the Pirates, who have been a punchline with 20 straight shedding seasons from 1993 to 2012.
The Padres’ longest skid is 9 seasons, which lasted from 1969-77. A shedding season this 12 months would match that.
A profitable season, nonetheless, would possibly be the beginning of one thing totally different — maybe one thing particular.
San Diego the massive offseason winner? It is one thing that just about by no means occurs.
There’s nonetheless time to alter that narrative. There’s a lot to achieve with Harper or Machado.
There may be much more to lose.