Dee insisted that the Padres, coming off a 74-88 finish after lofty expectations a year ago, aren't in a rebuilding mode.
"The term we use is 'building.' And I think we've been building since Peter and [executive chairman Ron Fowler] purchased the team three years ago. There's nobody in the clubhouse who believes there's rebuilding or taking a step back. This is about the here and now, 2016," Dee said.
"From our standpoint, there's only one way to do it, which is to compete here and now while you're also building a world-class organization beneath the Major League team in scouting and player development so that we have waves of talent in the future."
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The team added eight prospects to their top 30 list of prospects compiled by MLBPipeline.com after a handful of trades this winter added assets to a farm system that had largely been depleted after trades last year by general manager A.J. Preller.
"We were here a year ago, and there was all this expectation. If you go back to a year ago, what A.J. Preller thought was that we had a chance to make some trades where we got good baseball value back. The core of that group -- Matt Kemp, [James] Shields, Wil Myers and Derek Norris -- they're still here," Seidler said.
"I'm more excited this year than I was last year, frankly, because we're one more year into Preller's reign of building a great organization at all levels -- 25-man roster, Triple-A, Double-A, Draft, you name it."
The team's Opening Day payroll, barring any additions or subtractions between now and April 4, will be about $100 million, down slightly from where it was a year ago ($108 million). Dee said there's wiggle room to spend if the team is contending.
The Padres are also gearing up to spend in both the Draft and on July 2, the international signing date. The Padres have six of the top 85 picks and figure to make additions internationally in July.
In other words, Dee feels there are brighter days ahead.
"Clearly we had higher expectations than what were realized last year. But there were significant strides made in the organization," Dee said. "... But our decision was to stay the course with this Major League group and try to improve the team. We believe this is a roster that can compete."