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December 11, 2012
Padres Break Bank, Won't Pay to Have it Fixed
The Padres have been huge players so far this offseason, acquiring Brandon Kloess, A.J. Kirby-Jones, Tyson Ross, and Wilfredo Boscan in trades, and signing free agents Travis Buck and Jason Marquis. This has the potential to upset the balance of power in the National League West.
Such are the problems when a new ownership group comes in and starts flinging money like there's an endless supply of the green stuff. Drop enough Lincolns and other teams reflexively recoil in fear. It is impossible to deny the intimidation factor that accompanies such brash spending. Opponents feel deflated and stop trying to compete. This is great for the Padres, but think of the poor Dodgers and Giants to the north. What will become of them?
Marquis' résumé overwhelms:
I could go on, but you get the idea. This is a unique talent. Literally no one else can make all of the above claims. To get these seven bullet points for $3 million—that's less than $500,000 per bullet point. In this market? Crazy!
If the Padres can spend $3 million on Marquis, what else might they do? The mind boggles. Marquis, though, isn't the whole story. Fans have myriad other reasons to be excited about this team.
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But enough about Pirates, we were talking about the Padres. The real difference-maker is Travis Buck. In Buck, the Padres are getting someone who:
Buck is primarily a corner outfielder these days, but he did play 28 errorless innings in center for Oakland as a rookie in 2007 and eight more for Cleveland in 2011, so there's every reason to believe that his presence signals the end of Cameron Maybin's tenure in San Diego.
The cruel irony is that Buck was taken just 26 picks after Maybin in the 2005 draft. And by irony it is understood that we mean coincidence. Let us not split hairs over such trivialities. Nobody loves a pedantic semanticist.
The point is that with Buck in center, flanked on the corners by Mark Kotsay and that guy who tried to wipe your windshield with a newspaper while you were stopped at a red light this morning, the Padres will be tough in 2013. And the scary part is, they're only going to get better in the future.
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Notice has been served. The Dodgers may have traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Zack Greinke (the latter being an obvious and—if we are to be brutally honest—desperate response to San Diego's inking of Marquis). The Giants may have won two so-called world championships in three years. But the Padres' time is now and they know it.
The rest of the baseball universe is about to suffer the wrath of a franchise that finally, after decades of theriomorphic threats (there was talk of changing the team name to Skunks or Platypi) and incomprehensible innuendo, has the necessary resources at its disposal and the gumption to act with shameless bravado. Things are going to change in San Diego. Thing are going to...
Oh wait, that Jason Marquis and Travis Buck? Never mind.