Are the Padres following the Astros’ blueprint?

One of the most active teams in this slow off-season has been the San Diego Padres. They have made three big trades to beef up their pitching rotation, picking up Blake Snell from the Rays, Yu Darvish from the Cubs and the newly completed pick-up of former Astro Joe Musgrove from the Pirates. They also signed one of the top players from the KBO (Korea) in infielder Ha-Seong Kim.

There are many parallels between the Astros (before 2015) and the Padres (before 2020). Both were Expansion Teams, the Astros with the Mets in 1962 and the Padres with the Expos in 1969. Both have had minimal post-season success.

The Padres before 2020 had only been to the post-season five times in their history and had two unsuccessful World Series appearances. In 1984, they beat the Cubs and almost unbeatable Rick Sutcliffe (16-1 after being traded from Cleveland) in a five-game NLCS series and then lost to the 104-58 juggernaut Detroit Tigers in five games. In 1998, the Padres beat the Randy Johnson led Astros on their way to the World Series. They were swept by the juggernaut 114-48 New York Yankees, though like what has happened to the Astros they lost a couple games late, losing a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning of the 1st game and a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning of the 3rd game.

Before 2020, the Padres had won three post-season series in their history. Before 2015, the Astros had won three postseason series in their history. Before last season, the Padres had been going through a 13 season playoff drought. Before their 2015 playoff appearance, the Astros had been in the depths of a 9 season playoff drought.

So what have the Padres done to follow the Astros blueprint:

  • In the last decade, both teams have had new ownership groups, the Astros with the one led by Jim Crane in 2011 and the Padres with an ownership group of O’Malley heirs from the family that owned the Dodgers for many years taking over in 2012.
  • Both teams went with younger general managers, both the Astros with Jeff Luhnow in 2011 and the Padres with A.J. Preller in 2014.
  • The Astros went full out tank mode, slashing their payroll, resulting in three straight 100+ losses in 2011 – 2013 and a 90 loss 2014. The Padres dropped their approximate $100 MM payroll in 2015 to $32 MM by 2017. This resulted in four 90+ loss seasons in a row.
  • Both the Padres (Fernando Tatis Jr. , Dinelson Lamet and others) and the Astros (Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and others) have pulled in a lot of talent from the International market.
  • The Astros brought in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke by trading from their depth of wealth in prospects, just like the Padres have done to bring in Darvish, Snell and Musgrove.
  • The Padres, like the Astros, bottomed out on salary and then started increasing their spending in conjunction with their teams improving.

Now there have been some differences in the rebuild. The Astros offense’s core was built around high draft picks like Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer. The Padres offensive core is built around that International signing (Tatis Jr.), big free agent signings (Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado) and trade (Wil Myers). The Astros under Luhnow have never offered long term contracts to outside free agents like the Padres have with Hosmer (8 seasons) and Machado (10 seasons).

But in the end, the key here is whether the Padres can take the next steps and truly follow the blueprint set forth by our Astros.

Note: This post was completed before the announcement on the George Springer signing. The next post will be about our good friend George.

 

106 comments on “Are the Padres following the Astros’ blueprint?

  1. The big difference I see is that the Padres are going to run into a huge payroll sooner than the Astros.
    The Astros didn’t start tying up players until after their WS and the Padres are doing that much earlier.
    The other big difference I see is that the Padres have a much better rotation than we did to start their run.

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    • I agree with that OP. The Astros payroll entering 2015 was like $70 MM and entering 2017 like around $120 MM . They had Correa, Bregman, McCullers, Giles, Peacock and Devenski in 2017 at the minimum salary or slightly above it – around $550K each.

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    • Obviously the Padres are all in as to winning it all. I suspect they are tired of playing second fiddle to the Dodgers. Sure can’t blame them for that. I despise the Dodgers almost as much as the Yankees, and to think I had the baseball cards of the entire 1961 Yankees back then. Boy, have times changed!

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    • I’m curious as to “could we have signed Springer for that amount or less?” I know we’d probably exceed the “tax” this year but what about in the coming years. My questions are as follows:
      1. Did we just decide that Springer was an untouchable as far as a deal to remain an Astro? Was his asking price not even a starting point for negotiations?
      2. Did Springer want no part of remaining here (for whatever reasons)?
      3. Did Michael Brantley become a part of a packaged deal to remain here?
      4. Have the Astros decided to rid themselves of any further “stain” of the cheating scandal and Springer was just another victim in the fray?
      5. Did we not want to take a shot at a lengthy deal due to his injury history?

      Maybe yes, no, or a combination to all but I’d like to hear everyone’s opinion. Maybe we’ll never know his or our reasons but it’s an interesting topic.

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      • I believe Cole’s deal with the Yankees showed Springer the way to go. With his credentials and the scandal in Houston, which he was a big part of, I doubt he ever considered staying and I’m sure the Astros knew that.

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      • My guess is that George made it clear he was moving on. I think Crane/Click would have paid at least as much in Texas dollars, maybe not for 6 years though.
        Anyway, it’s done. I hope to be in Houston next time he comes to town.

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  2. As a side note, Dan linked to an article about a Freudis Nova interview in his last post. In that article Nova says his goal is to be in the majors by the end of 2021.
    I never had a chance to check this out, but this morning I noticed that Nova, who is already on the roster, has a total of 137 professional games under his belt. That is the equivalent of less than a full minor league season. Having not played above the Low A level, he has a career OPS of .709 in those low minor leagues and has committed 40 errors in 137 games.
    Someone please tell me why this guy is the Astros #2 prospect.

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      • I’ve provided it for 2 years. He’s a bust, whereas the ranking is due to Astros hype so they can trade him. Other teams are wise to it though (SS are a dime a dozen too), and he literally has zero value. I’ve had him much lower in ranks for a long time. After he was added to 40-man this year (because we wanted to try to retain what we’ve paid him & not lose in R5), I inched him higher only because he’s started to “find his power and grow into his body” at 20 yrs old. The biggest problem is no team is bad enough to keep him on 40 for two years. His ETA is more like 2023 imo.

        The article was shameless in the PSA aspect, and the writer with riveting questions: “tell me more about that?” Anyone with any salt would have asked, “how do you expect to make the Show when you’ve shown no signs of that possibility?”

        In fact, Pena, Dauri Lorenzo, Grae Kessinger, Shay Whitcomb and Enmanuel Valdez are better IF prospects. Nova will go the way of Duarte amd Anibal Sierra — close but so far. Even $2,000 Alex De Goti has a higher floor than Nova.

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    • It’s projection and largely tied to his age. He should add some more muscle to his frame over the next couple years. He reminds me of Wilson Betemit at the plate at that age. I haven’t seen him in the field, but am hoping to do so this summer.

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  3. Some Dan comments for the day….
    – Of course, we do not know how much some young guy developed in 2020 when there were no real games, but it is likely that Nova did not suddenly have a bunch of skills appear to lift him to almost the top of the list.
    – Based on how the Astros had what was rated like 28th minor league prospects heading into last year, yet had a bunch and I mean a bunch of pitchers make their debuts, and most of them held their own – I don’t trust anything I see about ranking prospects or teams relative to prospects.
    – I will have a lot more to say about George in my next post. But I’m not hurting about it that much today. It has been like having a relative with a terminal disease and by the time they have passed your heart is empty and so are your tear ducts. I had given up on George returning a while back and have mourned him already.
    – It is a bit crazy that multiple sources are saying there is an agreement between the Jays and Brantley and then the Jays come forth and say – No there isn’t. Of course these days all true sources are anonymous, so how do we know what is what until the ink is drying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you know Nova was always rated highly, Dan. Callis started pushing him back toward 10 when we drafted a few times, and after those ’18 QC and ’19 Fay’ville pitching teams showed out.

      I wrote an article once decrying the current Nova situation. Of the comments, AB’s was more prescient. Zombie used to be the resident prospect authority, too.

      Anyway, I’m just sayin’ this was fairly predictable when his low exit velo’s showed up! They’ve since said he’s finding his power. That is why I would project Ashville by end of season, and go from there. As you can see, I would’ve liked to have traded him too. On Feb 7th we still did not know Crane had told Click we had the money to keep Reddick, but I still covet Joe Ryan.

      https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2020/2/7/21127974/what-to-do-with-freudis-nova

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  4. This is awesome!
    1. Brantley is back.
    2. We only need one other outfielder.
    3. A third LH bat in the lineup.
    4. This means the Astros are not giving up.
    5. This lessens the Springer hurt.

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      • Lol, good one.

        I’ve mentioned the one’s I thought are most likely hanging on edge; Humberto Castellanos has to be that guy. No way it’s Jones, or Nivaldo?

        I don’t know though if this corresponds to other moves.

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      • My thing is, if he does make it here, once more people outside Houston find out he used to use steroids , it’ll be yet another stain

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      • Billy, we’ve had Paulino Deetz and Martes on steroids. If you are just now finding out about Nova from 5 yrs ago, where have you been?

        Baseball is not the sport to be looking for ethical heroes, my friend. And in case you haven’t noticed, Chapman firing 8 rounds over his gf’s head in between striking her in the face is about as newsworthy as a Canadian court throwing out the Roberto Osuna assault charge. I’d prefer not to have our fans harping harder on the double standard with which our org has been treated; it’s bad enough in regular media.

        Steroids and previously illegal drugs (like pot) have been discussed anew after the Skaggs situation, and the league is much more lenient now.

        A perfect situation to finagle, a la, NYM and Cano. Even Martes was running out of time — last chance, might as well use them to see if it pushes him over top. Yaonis Quiala former Astro did the same thing. Both pitching in Dominican Winter to desperately keep their careers alive.

        Like the lesson of North Dallas Forty, these guys will shoot up or do whatever it takes to stay on the field. Who really knows how much of this goes on, when the Skaggs investigation revealed Angels had an illegal stick ’em guy who gave pitchers around the league the stuff, along with a trainer supplying pain meds. Who knows how much isn’t publicized if we only see it when they get exposed?

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  5. Heck, I just took a swim, came out and discovered Michael Brantley has already left Toronto and come back home. Dare I envision an outfield of Brantley, Leon and Tucker by mid season? I know I’ll get panned for this by some, but I’d be ok with Jake coming back to hold down the fort in center for the time being. Crane is going to keep this club relevant.

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  6. Potential lineup
    2B – Altuve
    LF – Brantley
    3B – Bregman
    DH – Alvarez
    SS – Correa
    RF – Tucker
    1B – Gurriel
    C – Maldonado
    CF – Straw

    That’s pretty dang deep

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love reading things on the Internet. Springer to Toronto. Followed by Brantley to Toronto. Followed by Nova is our #2 prospect. Followed by Brantley to the Astros. Followed by Nova is worthless. Followed by 1OP is hired by Memorial Hospital as a Neurosurgeon.

    If it is on the Internet, it is always TRUE.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Baseball is impossible for me to understand. Chris Devenski was unhittable and then was a batting practice pitcher. Ryne Stanek’s career stats are no better than Chris. Hard to see why FO would cut one and sign the other. Let’s hope they know a lot more than what is shown in the stats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because they look at edgertronics and rapsodo AC, not batting average or ERA. Front Offic/Managers expectations are based on things you are not seeing. It is not impossible, because the info is there to look at for each player.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The video link is excellent. It is a shame to post it for people like me with very limited brain power. I meant it is impossible for ME to understand. You do realize that I don’t know what to do when I get two incoming calls on my iPhone at the same time.

        Finally, I realized that I was a dunce when the Astros got Charlie Morton and I saw his previous stats. I would be the guy who was given a box of diamonds to search and find the only Cubic Zirconia in there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Always humorous, self-effacing and humble.

        Hey, I was the same way on Morton until Hinch said from his golf cart in December 2016, “we (Taubman) think Charlie Morton is going to be the biggest under radar sign” because he’s throwing 98. Nobody had even seen him pitch for 7 months at that point, but Brandon was looking at spin rates efficiencies, knowing what Strom could do with it. Turned out Charlie was a student of the game just like Cole and Verlander, which made them easy to work with.

        When asked one year after Morton left, ‘what did you like most about your time with Strom?’ He said he taught us to throw with confidence any pitch on any count, and McCann was the perfect catcher to embue that 100% belief he could do it. Cannot say enough about a manager who’s able to give that to a pitcher, like Baker to Framber. Some guys just click better.

        I’ve been reading a lot lately on biomechanics and kenetic energy in pitching lately, as the company Driveline teached MLB coaches how to read the data. A guy like Strom can literally see where a foot hits too soon, or an arm angle isn’t where it’s supposed to be, even without the machines. Invaluable to have him as guru, and frankly we should be hearing about his predecessor soon, Bill Murphy. Drew French and Erik Abreu are the other standout pitching coaches who bring Strommie an almost finished product!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, Stubbs will be ready. It reflects more I think on lack of the 3rd catcher, being Michael Papierski. If you have one injury, now you’re looking at Quintana as the 3rd. That can’t happen, so the Castro move makes a lot of sense for the money and what Astros ask (far beyond offensively) of their catchers. One thing that’s super important is in-game reads on hitters not seeing the ball. Some have criticized the way Jason calls a game. Be watching for whether he can keep hitters guessing. Always want an AL guy too, who has a book on the league!

        I posted some in-depth stats on Castro regarding hard hit% etc. and he is Top 2 in several categories.

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  9. I have a question concerning our upcoming season, the option of having a team in Sugar Land, and our relief pitcher options. For home games, the Astros can almost move a reliever or two mid-game in a home stand. My question is it legal to take a couple extra non-roster relievers on your team flight for a road trip. Then if you need to call up or send down a player after a bad game, you have the body there for replacement? (Perhaps if I read “Veeck as in Wreck” again, he already tried it.

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    • Good question AC. I know last year they had a Covid rule where you basically could take along 3 (I think) extras with you on trips. I don’t know if that would apply this year.

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      • And Bill Veeck owned the Milwaukee minor league team many moons ago and bought my dad a hot dog when he was there with my grandpa. We could use some more guys like that in the game.

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    • That’s an interesting question. If I understand correctly, the answer is that yes, it is legal. You don’t have to be on the Active or even 40 man roster to travel with the team. The relationship between the MLB and MiLB farm team could become strained if it happened too often. Player movement is also subject to the rules that a player optioned to the minors cannot be recalled for a number of days…I believe 10…except under circumstances involving injuries. For 2020 each team had a three player Taxi Squad that was basically there for emergency. Clearly the 2021 season will be impacted by the ongoing pandemic and may retain some of those rules.

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  10. A question to GoStros1:
    The Astros apparently paid $300,000 to a young Dominican OF prospect named Richel Del Rosario. I watched some video of him. Have you heard anything about him? 6’0″ 190 lbs.

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    • Never heard of her? haha
      Time to research!

      I’m just now seeing Castro.
      I really thought the sticking point would be paying Jason more than Maldy, and sure enough, they paid him exactly the same (and incentives). I think it’s perfect that Jason will be teaching Stubbs in 2022, and it means Lee won’t be ready til 2023. It’s also perfect that Castro will only be facing RHP, where he sees the ball better.

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    • Dan, it might be structured that way because the Astros are moving toward the luxury tax boundary for this year, with a lot of room next year.

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  11. According to Spotrac, the Astros now have the third highest payroll and are around $13 million under the luxury tax level.
    The Astros and Yankees have 42 players under major league contracts, so they still have moves to make.

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  12. I read a story, earlier today, that stated the Canadian PM is strongly suggesting that no international travel be allowed from and into Canada in the near future.

    That will put a serious crimp in the Blue Jay’s upcoming season as they will have to find another place to play in the USA. Buffalo will probably play this season so the ‘Jays will have to find another MLB ready stadium to play in.

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  13. Assuming good heath, Castro will likely get more at bats than Maldonado. I never really liked his work behind the plate, and he was not a favorite Astro of mine, but he did put up an .851 OPS against righties in the last real season, 2019. And with a .749 lifetime OPS against right handers, he won’t be an automatic out down at the bottom of the order.

    I’m just very pleased to see that Crane has no intention of coasting into 2022 waiting on that lower payroll. Click is still shaping the club. More to come.

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    • If we continue to ask the entire world to put “The Thing” into ancient history. Then perhaps you and I can put the Old Jason behind us. I am willing to clean the slate because I was glad he left.

      So let’s hope he has improved both his hitting and his ability to catch a ball thrown on or near the ground plus learned to keep a walk from almost automatically being a double.

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  14. I’m listening to Joe Smith answer Blummer’s question about “break down 2020” on Astroline radio 790

    He’s going on and on about the energy of Enoli Paredes.
    Missing being close to the guys, it hurt to have to watch from afar.

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  15. I’m sorry to interrupt but the union of Nick Saban, Bill O’Brien and Alabama is just perfect for me. Putting them all close together makes it so easy not to hear about them separately. Now they are together in one avoidable vomit.
    It’s like the opposite of The Blessed Trinity.
    You are who your friends are. Belichick and Saban are about two of my least favorite football people and BOB has now been with both of them. All of them are like bad oysters.

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  16. Tonight, on Astroline, Carlos Correa said he loves the Astros and that he would love to be an Astro for life. He said he has no problem with going to arbitration because it is business and it’s not personal. He said he hoped the Astros were thinking the same way as he was about his future.
    Boom!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This:
    Joe Smith and his wife were (maybe still are) working with a fertility doctor to keep any baby from inheriting a horrible gene he carries that killed his own mother. That was more than likely the real reason he sat out 2020.
    I love okra!
    Jason Castro coming back here is…”meh”.
    Correa was sending a HUGE signal to Crane to start saving his nickel and dimes because it’s gonna cost him BIG time to keep him here.
    Still no date when pitchers and catchers report….when I find out I’ll tell ya!
    Keep posting I’m reading. Becky⚾

    Like

  18. Garrett Stubbs needs to sit down with Click to see which way the club views Stubbs in the near and long term future. If a position change is required, Stubbs needs to get with it to protect his career.

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    • sargeh, Stubbs is getting pretty old. And his minor league career has been unremarkable. I think his role is depth at a job that lacks depth. I don’t think it’s about when he’s ready. It’s kind of late for that.

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    • I’m guessing that is the delay to have added them already, this 2 days of “they will sign with HOU” talk.

      I can only guess further they’re trying to trade the guys they have to option/DFA, or others blocked who have any value. Can’t think of anyone on the 40-man who would slip through waivers. Had the Astros tamped down all the Nova hype, it would have been possible to slip him through. Had they told JA Rivera to dog it for 3 months, they could’ve saved him too.. but that was 2019 and nobody could foresee what’s happened since.

      For me, it’s a simple choice if they can’t trade Humberto Castellanos.

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      • I know I’m the knucklehead here, but I’m anticipating a trade for an outfielder that will clear a couple of spaces on the 40 man. I was saying nice things about Jake, but in retrospect, he effectively threw the Astro organization under the bus when he joined the Mets. He might well be persona non grata.

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  19. In keeping with dave’s idea, the few OF we’d be interested in trading for, or acquiring in FA are; Starling Marte and Eddie Rosario.

    What would it take to get $12m Marte on his walk year?
    Abe Toro, Blake Taylor, Freudis Nova and they pay half his salary.

    Rosario would cost around 3/$28m and Devin asked if he was a friend of Correa’s seems relevant.

    It was in this vein that we could have gotten something done sooner that I said we should have protected Rivera from Angels. Who knows maybe he won’t stick over there like Bailey?

    hey, Op I saw a guy post fantasy top 50 Astros and there were new names emerge. Also, a guy named Phil in the blanks who had 3 Pedro Leon at-bats, if you can find them. Here’s the broader link. I told him he was wrong about Adolph Santana and McKenna, but all they care about is those players doing well in lower leagues where they can dominate, not whether they will ever make the major leagues.

    https://www.prospects1500.com/al-west/astros/houston-astros-2021-top-50-prospects/

    Like

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