The World Series is over, meaning Major League Baseball has entered its offseason -- one full of question marks for general manager A.J. Preller and the Padres. As it stands, San Diego has one of the youngest teams in the Majors, with Brett Wallace as the only player on the 40-man roster over 29. With that in mind, the Padres have work to do.
San Diego needs a handful of veterans to help bring along some of the younger players. It also needs to add multiple pieces to its starting rotation. And it needs to bring in a bat or two -- potentially at shortstop or in the outfield.
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Here are a few of your most pressing questions as we enter free agency.
Do you see Preller making big moves like he did two years ago? Or will he stay low-key like last year?
-- Jacob V., San Diego, CA.
It's hard to envision Preller making anything close to the splash he made in 2014 when Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel and Justin and Melvin Upton Jr. were brought on board. The Padres have made it clear that they're committed to developing their young talent, and almost all of their prospects are players that Preller brought in himself.
If San Diego isn't willing to trade its youngsters, it doesn't exactly have the veteran chips necessary to work out a major deal. Tyson Ross would've obviously been an attractive piece, but he's coming off thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. The Padres also wouldn't get much for Derek Norris, who struggled mightily last season.
Unless San Diego is willing to part with Myers, Yangervis Solarte or any of its highly touted prospects, don't expect a major splash this winter. Then again, this is Preller we're talking about.
Who do you see as realistic free-agent additions for the starting rotation? If Ross is not ready, would you make Luis Perdomo the Opening Day starter?
-- Kyle L.
The Padres have expressed interest in potentially bringing back Clayton Richard and Edwin Jackson, and both pitchers have said they'd be open to a return. But it's not always that easy.
San Diego needs to add at least two starting pitchers, however, and it's slim pickings on the open market right now. Ivan Nova and Doug Fister could fit the bill as cost-effective innings-eaters, but that's just speculation at this point.
As for Perdomo, he earned the right to be in the Opening Day discussion with his second half last season. Among healthy pitchers on the current roster, I'd say he has the best shot. But with free agency just getting underway, it's too early to tell.
We need starting pitching and a shortstop. Will the Padres spend to get it after that international splash?
-- Jason A.
If the right players were available, I don't think the Padres would hesitate to spend. But therein lies the problem -- the free-agent market is simply too thin at shortstop and starting pitcher.
In MLB.com's recently released top 25 free agents for 2017, Rich Hill and Jeremy Hellickson were the only pitchers to crack that list. At 37, Hill isn't an option, and Hellickson -- an average pitcher in a thin market -- probably isn't worth the investment for San Diego. Meanwhile, at shortstop, Ian Desmond is the only player deserving of big bucks, and he spent last season as an outfielder.
The Padres will spend a bit in free agency, but the necessary players simply aren't there for any sort of major investment.
Will Javier Guerra play in the Major Leagues in '17?
-- Joey P.
Guerra's 2016 season was certainly concerning from a Padres perspective. The club's No. 7 prospect posted a .202/.264/.325 slash line with nine homers in his first year at Class A Advanced. He's only 21, but the club would've liked to have seen him progress more by now.
It's possible that Guerra -- who was acquired for Kimbrel last spring along with Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen -- takes a couple steps forward in 2017. But he's a long way from seeing time in the Majors, and '18 appears to be the earliest possible arrival date.
What's the status of Carter Capps?
-- Mark I.
Capps is the Padres' relief ace in the hole. They acquired the hard-throwing righty with little fanfare last summer, hoping he could be a crucial part of their 2016 bullpen. In 31 innings for Miami in '15, Capps allowed only four earned runs while striking out 58.
Capps underwent Tommy John surgery last March, and he probably won't be available at the start of Spring Training. But there's a chance he makes it back in time for Opening Day -- or shortly thereafter. His recovery appears to be ahead of schedule, as he's been throwing aggressively, with no reports of further elbow trouble.