Prospects rarely make it big
The sad fact is this, 1 in 5 prospects in the top 100 will be even average in the major leagues. Outside of the top 100 the numbers drop dramatically.
The Padres had 10 players in the MLB Top 100 prospects list. So take your pick of two that will someday be average or better. My money is on Tatis and Urias. The other 8 will fail to be regulars in the majors.
Some will become utility players. Some will become relievers. But just 2 will be good enough to be a regular part of the rotation or in the field.
The Bottom Line?
The Padres cannot count on prospects to help them become contenders except as they are used as trade chips for proven MLB talent.
The Padres also need to push their chips in on major FA. The team has been awful for a decade. They need a big name with a big bat or big arm or both to pull them out of the bottom of the league/top of the draft.
Who Should they Sign and Why?
Harper or Machado would bring the Padres out of the cellar with the 5-6 wins they would add.
Harper would be the better draw at the gate and better media selling point.
Bringing on Machado would fill a need at 3B, but many fans soured on him because of his comments during the World Series (whether that opinion of him is justified by his play is a different discussion).
Bringing on Harper would fill RF for the next decade and allow the team to trade 2 major league OF to fill multiple needs.
Sign Harper. 12/360 with an opt-out at 3 years and a hefty signing bonus ($24 million?) that is contingent on him NOT exercising the opt-out. Make $8-10 million per year for the 1st 3 years deferred until 2030 or starting after the deal ends.
Trade Renfroe and prospects for Eugenio Suarez. The Reds have Senzel waiting in the wings and they are so anxious to have his bat in the lineup that he is training in CF as we speak.
Sign Mike Moustakas to a 3 year, $30 million deal.
Sign Gio Gonzales. 1/10 with $12 million option for 2020
Trade for Alex Cobb. Orioles take on 1/2 of the contract and get Nix and a nobody in return.