In the days leading up to Monday's Trade Deadline, the Padres said goodbye to 16 players. Twelve of them are younger than 25.
It should be patently clear that the Padres have entered win-now mode. They don’t dispute that.
They sacrificed pieces who will become successful Major Leaguers elsewhere. They aren’t disputing that, either.
But the idea that San Diego has, in any way, mortgaged its future for a run at the 2020 World Series? The Padres want to make it clear: That is not the case. They haven’t bet the farm.
“We still feel like we have one of the better farm systems, if not the top farm system, in the game,” general manager A.J. Preller said. “We feel like ultimately we have a lot of players, not just at the top of the system.
"More waves coming."
That last line has become a rote metaphor Preller uses when he talks about his organizational depth. In 2017, when the Padres' farm system began its ascension, Preller spoke about “waves of prospects” that would eventually crash on San Diego’s shores.
Preller wasn't wrong then. And he isn't wrong now. Yes, the Padres traded a lot of players. But those moves didn't put too big a dent in their pipeline. Preller made certain to hold onto his consensus top four prospects -- MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Luis Patino and Luis Campusano. He'd also built one of the sport's deepest farm systems, capable of withstanding even some major losses.
"My view is: This is still a very, very strong system," farm director Sam Geaney said. "The high-end talent, a lot of that remains. And there's depth beyond that with some of our younger, talented players who have a chance to assert themselves."
In total, the Padres traded nine prospects. Here's where they ranked in the system:
No. 5 Taylor Trammell
No. 8 Gabriel Arias
No. 10 Joey Cantillo
No. 12 Owen Miller
No. 16 Hudson Potts
No. 19 Jeisson Rosario
No. 20 Edward Olivares
The remaining two players to be named will both be low-level pitching prospects outside the Top 30, according to sources.
Before the season, MLB Pipeline ranked the Padres' system as the second best in baseball. Following Monday's Deadline, they'd fallen all the way to ... No. 3.
"We don't get too caught up in that," Preller said of the rankings. "We just know we have a lot of good players. Being able to make the deals we did -- we wouldn't have done it if it just emptied out the cupboards. We still feel like there's a lot of talent down there."
He isn't wrong. The Padres traded some impressive prospects. Trammell ranks No. 59 overall on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list. Several team evaluators think Arias and Cantillo could crack that list in the future.
But the Padres made their moves strategically. Trammell became somewhat expendable with the emergence of Trent Grisham, a 23-year-old lefty-hitting center fielder. Arias is blocked by Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop. Meanwhile, prospects like Potts and Rosario could've been left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft this winter.
That combination of factors left the Padres feeling OK about what they gave up -- though it made for some tough goodbyes. Preller began overhauling the system in 2016, and players like Arias, Potts and Rosario were a foundational part of that process.
"Whether it was the specific players involved or the enormity of it all happening at once, it hit our group especially hard," Geaney said. "But more than any sadness, there's a tremendous level of pride at that group and what they've turned into.
"Obviously a lot of guys who have come through the system are helping us out at the big league level -- guys like Luis [Patiño], Adrian [Morejon], Fernando [Tatis Jr.], etc. But also, in a very important time for this organization, we were able to give A.J. the ability to go out and make our Major League team better."
• The Padres reinstated Wil Myers from the injured list on Thursday and optioned fellow outfielder Greg Allen to the team's alternate training site. The team did not disclose Myers' reason for landing on the IL.
Major League Baseball has instituted a COVID-19 list this season, although clubs will not announce which players are placed on it due to privacy laws regarding individuals’ health. Players may address their status if they wish, though they are not required to do so.
Being placed on an injured list without further explanation is not confirmation that a player has tested positive for COVID-19. For example, potential exposure to a person who has the virus can be sufficient cause. So, too, are symptoms attributable to other illnesses, like a head cold.
• Catcher Francisco Mejía, who has missed two weeks with a left thumb bruise, is playing intrasquad games at the team's alternate training site, manager Jayce Tingler said. When Mejía is healthy, Tingler noted that it's possible the Padres might carry three catchers, along with new acquisitions Austin Nola and Jason Castro.