Over at FanGraphs I wrote a little about Everth Cabrera and how the Padres had to be thrilled with his production to date. Earlier this season I admitted they were going to be a "fun" team to watch. Not in the usual sense, but in the sense that you have a pretty good front office dealing with a free year. Well, they didn't make a ton of roster moves - although snapping up Chad Gaudin looks good, and I love the return on Jake Peavy - but they did spend money on the international and domestic amateur markets - otherwise known as the draft.
Per Kevin Towers the Padres spent 10 million on amateur players this year. That is fantastic. Of course quite a bit of that money is on Donovan Tate, but the Padres went over slot with Everett Williams (second round pick) and Keyvius Sampson (fourth round pick) as well. For a team with a low-end payroll, spending this much attention to amateur players is vital. The Padres farm system hasn't been fantastic despite players like Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos running around, but they're working on it under Jeff Moorad.
On the field, you cannot classify this season as a success in any way, off the field, I think Padres fans should be jubilated with the commitment to finding and signing young talent. Who knows how much money the Padres will spend in free agency or how active they can be on the trade market, but they've done a very nice job this year acquiring talent for the organization, it just so happens this talent is below the major league level for now.