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Bryce Miller: Padres hope Adrian Morejon delivers on $80 million investment given to 2016 international class

Bryce Miller, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

PEORIA, Ariz. — Adrian Morejon is the answer to a nearly $80 million question.

In the "Jeopardy!" format: Who is the player who anchored a record-shattering international market spending spree by the San Diego Padres?

In 2016, the Padres snapped up the 17-year-old Cuban pitcher to anchor a cash-soaked class for $11 million. The financial outlay dwarfed the record $4 million signing bonus for Dominican shortstop Luis Almanzar, inked just days earlier.

In the same class, which MLB officials said was a top-three international investment in history at the time, slugger Jorge Oña cashed in for $7 million. The biggest deal since belongs to catching phenom Ethan Salas at $5.6 million.

Eight years later, the Morejon represents the Padres' last-gasp effort to groom a consistent full-time big leaguer amid all of that money — nearly $80 million.

The Padres were so confident in the depth of the haul that half of the cost came in the form of over-pay penalties. In franchise history, the previous record for a single signing class was south of $5 million.

 

They bet big. They're still waiting for a payoff.

Morejon, essentially the best and probably last realistic shot to produce a long-term Padres player from that deep dive, has pitched 75 big-league innings. Injuries to his knee and elbow limited Morejon to just nine a season ago.

"At times it's been a complicated, sometimes difficult road," Morejon said through interpreter Danny Sanchez. "Going into this season, I'm coming in with an open mind and ready to help the team in whatever they might need me to do."

The Padres need a healthy player who can consistently gobble up middle innings out of the bullpen.

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