The offseason for the San Diego Padres hasn't been nearly as active as most fans would have liked. GM Josh Byrnes' biggest move was re-signing Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million deal. While this deal won't sell out the stadium every homestand, it isn't fair to criticize the Padres GM or the owners for a quiet offseason.
After all, locking up closer Huston Street and LF Carlos Quentin were technically offseason moves made before November, and those deals were extremely lucrative compared to the penny-pinching we saw under the last ownership group.
However, after Christmas, the Padres' offseason became a little more active, as reports concerning two blockbuster trades surfaced. The first was a Headley-for-Upton package from Ken Rosenthal involving the D'Backs (which is still on and off the table), along with a possible deal with Miami involving Giancarlo Stanton (via the San Diego Union-Tribune).
The Marlins group, which lured big-name free agents with enormous and backloaded contracts in 2011, unloaded the superstars to Arizona and (mostly) Toronto this offseason. This sparked outrage in 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton, who is only a handful of home runs away from reaching 100 in his young career.
The story of a franchise opening up a taxpayer-funded ballpark with the promise to lure big-name ballplayers sounds familiar. The plot twist when the team fails to bring home a championship, even more familiar. And even today, the Padres fans feel cheated that Byrnes failed to ink Josh Hamilton or Zach Greinke, and hasn't pursued Michael Bourn to this day.
These fans fail to realize that, for one, San Diego's lineup is set in the minds of the front office, and two, all the big-name free agents are receiving big contracts because the class is desolate compared to past years. San Diego and other small-market teams can't afford to sign decent free agents to bloated contracts.
The Padres aren't prepared to offer a major deal to a speedy outfielder over 30 because they already have one, Will Venable. And while Venable is clearly not the hitter Michael Bourn is, the organization feels the "Move the Fences in" campaign will do wonders for the Princeton graduate. We'll see.
At this moment, San Diego is extremely rich in prospects and young talent. The San Diego farm system is one of the best overall in the MLB. While they don't have Manny Machado or Jake Odorizzi, there is an abundance in everyday contributors that will eventually turn into solid performers.
It would be easy to sell a package of Jedd Gyorko, Robbie Erlin, Austin Hedges and Rymer Liriano in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton. But remember, San Diego could easily deal Chase Headley, set to make around $8 million in arbitration, for the same prospect package.
Now is not the time to dive head first into a major deal that could have implications for years to come. San Diego is up against huge odds, as for the first time in a very, very long time, they will compete with the highest MLB payroll in their own division.
If San Diego makes it to July five games out of the NL West lead, then heck yes—make the trade! Get Giancarlo Stanton, and don't look back. But until the San Diego Padres are contending in 2013, there isn't any rush to import a superstar, one that may or may not help you reach your ultimate goal of a World Series victory.