Padres Trade For Aces While Ballpark Businesses Hope For Fans Next Season
If there was any doubt before, the Padres made it clear this week that they’re all in on ending the Dodgers’ reign atop Major League Baseball by trading for two all-star pitchers.
The only question now is whether fans will get to fill Petco Park next summer to watch the re-tooled team in action.
In a span of less than 24 hours, the team agreed to a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Cy Young winner Blake Snell and another deal with the Chicago Cubs for four-time all-star Yu Darvish. They also signed Ha-seong Kim, a highly touted infielder from Korea.
The Snell deal became official on Tuesday afternoon and the Darvish trade was finalized Tuesday night. The Kim signing is expected to be completed soon.
RELATED: Source: Padres Have Deal In Place To Get Cy Young Winner Blake Snell From Rays
General Manager A.J. Preller gave away several of the team’s top prospects to make the deals, which Padres radio play-by-play broadcaster Jesse Agler said clearly signals that the team is in a World Series or bust frame of mind.
“On paper coming into this 2021 season, there is no debate they will be one of the two, maybe three best teams in all of baseball,” Agler said. “And that means it's going to be as anticipated as any season we’ve ever seen around here.”
But when can fans anticipate sitting in the bleachers signing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and looking for foul balls to come their way?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available to the general public during the late spring or summer of 2021. That has led to some optimism that fans may be able to see part of the season from seats inside Petco Park.
Lucky’s Lunch Counter is one of the few businesses around Petco Park with its doors still open. Chef Ivan Munoz hopes that at some point next summer restaurants and merchants will finally be able to reap the benefits of the improved team.
“I mean, we missed out a lot on last season. The team had one of the greatest seasons we had in a long time, so it definitely hurt us a lot,” Munoz said.
Next year the Padres are projected to be even better, as the degree of talent the team acquired through the trades is immense.
No team in Major League history had ever landed multiple pitchers in a single offseason who had finished top two in Cy Young Award voting over the past three seasons. The Padres did so on the same day.
RELATED: Padres Acquire Pitcher Yu Darvish In blockbuster Trade With Cubs
When fans can fully return to the stands, Agler expects a full house.
“I think everyone is optimistic that at some point this year, you’ll be able to have fans back in the ballparks all across the country. How many fans and what percentage capacity is obviously something we’ll have to wait and see.”
National League West rivals and the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers are still the team to beat. But the Padres seem to have narrowed the gap significantly with their roster changes over the past few days.