For the last week or so, Padres land has been inundated with Padres fans (and its media) begging the Padres to sign Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas. I won’t delve into the merits of whether or not they should sign him, or his background, but if you want to read more about him as a prospect, I recommend reading this or this.
Nope, what I’m doing here is handicapping the excuse the Padres will use when they inevitably do not sign him. This should be fun and depressing. Let’s get to it.
Note: the numbers do not add up to 100% because the Padres have been known to use multiple excuses.
Excuse: It’s A.J. Preller’s fault
Perhaps I’m giving too much credit to Ron Fowler’s unwillingness to criticize a brand new employee. After all, when he threw Josh Byrnes under the bus, at least you could rationalize it under the guise that Fowler didn’t choose Josh Byrnes. If Ron throws Preller under the bus now, it’s an awfully bad look for his hand-selected rookie general manager. However, as much as I wanted to place this closer to 0%, this is Ron Fowler we’re talking about. He’s practically incapable of keeping his mouth shut, so 10% it is.
Excuse: Why spend for the sake of spending?
The only reason this won’t happen is because I’m saying it’s going to happen…this is some form of self unfulfilling prophecy.
I love how frequently this excuse is actually used, as if it was an accepted tautology rather than the flawed 16th century philosophical puzzle that it is.
Excuse: The market was crazy
This one is a given. In their first offseason, Fowler and co. stated that the “price value system” didn’t match what they thought it should be internally, later said that teams were spending their TV revenue a year early, and then told Darren Smith in October of 2013:
We were shocked at the price of free agents.
If you’re willing to go through the Padres.com archives, you’ll actually find a Corey Brock post in every offseason since 2009 talking about the exorbitant price of free agents. 95% might be too low, now that I think about it, but there’s no way I’m scrolling back up to fix that. Bet away!
I also hate this excuse with an unbelievable passion. You mean to tell me that I’m supposed to believe that everyone else is stupid and that the Padres are the one team being smart by not spending. It reeks of questioning your allegiance to the team under the guise that if you wanted the Padres to spend then “you want the Padres to be stupid, too?!?”
Don’t buy it. Do bet on it.
Excuse: We are poor
This would require that one of the Padres own makes a statement like Dave Winfield did back in the 2012/2013 offseason:
These guys paid $800 million to buy the Padres. You know that always doesn’t leave a lot of money to make the moves that you want.
Now, Winfield no longer does anything noteworthy for the club, so this would have to come from someone else close to team in a moment of candidness. That makes this unlikely, but still plausible based on history.
If I were to handicap who says it and to whom, I’m picking A.J. Preller (as he’s a total wild card and may perhaps be sleep-deprived following a long trip) speaking to Tom Verducci. The latter only because of his criticism of Padres frugality in the recent past.
Excuse: Hefty arbitration raises restricted the team
Odds: No line/already used/100%
No joke, this line has already been thrown out several times this offseason. Mike Dee said it to Dan Sileo, the UT has been hammering about this, etc. This is the excuse front-running the excuse. Vegas has no line for this one as it’s already settled.
Excuse: The new scoreboard and other infrastructure costs prohibited our spending
I personally would love if this one turns out to be true. How awesome would it be if something I have badgered the team about on social media was then turned around as the reason they couldn’t spend on the field? So awesome.
Ron Fowler hastily promised a new scoreboard at Padres Fan Fest in 2013 as a response to a question about my documentary. The explicit promise was 2014 or 2015, and we’re at the back end of that promise with 2015 on the horizon. Based on cryptic tweets and limited comments by Padres staff members, it looks like the new scoreboard actually will exist in 2015. We’ll see. We’ll also see if that’s used as a crutch. Perhaps 20% is too low here, but I think most fans would see this as a bogus excuse, mitigating the odds it’s used.
By the way, any mention of a “heavy ballpark debt structure” doesn’t count here.
Excuse: Ron Fowler states that he’s in this to earn a profit every year (on top of the franchise’s appreciation in value), not to win a championship. Despite increasing the odds that the team wins the championship (and also decreasing the cost we pay per World Series title), signing Tomas risks decreasing our profitability. Fuck that! Besides, we’re just going to lose to the Dodgers anyway. Now give me your money!
Odds: 0% (100%)
No chance they say this. All the chance that it’s the real reason.