More than 1,100 miles separate San Antonio from Petco Park. More than 600 lie between El Paso and downtown San Diego. In 2018, several baseball players could traverse the distance relatively easily. The Padres on Sunday finished their regular season, and thus their entire season. A roster loaded with youth but not premium talent went 71-91. Flipping that record will require help from a variety of sources. Internal reinforcements appear to be close. While the Padres endured growing pains, their affiliates largely experienced success. Double-A San Antonio fielded multiple minor league stars; near the end of the season, the Missions featured three top-100 prospects in Cal Quantrill, Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. Low Single-A Fort Wayne, where Tatis Jr. thrived before jumping two levels, hosted a similarly intriguing group. “There’s been a lot of positives on the minor league side,” General Manager A.J. Preller said. “Some guys have definitely put themselves in the conversation maybe a year or so earlier than if you had tried to map it out on paper from a prospects standpoint. … We’re starting to blend in more and more guys we think are big-league players, and I think it’ll make for a really interesting spring training. “In terms of the competitive cycle, I think we’re still pretty realistic. I think we understand there’s going to be some growth for guys. At the big-league level, that’s always the hardest place for guys to come up and have immediate success.” That statement certainly applied in San Diego. Hoping to move a step closer to contention, the Padres also will look outside the organization this offseason. Shortstop, of course, has been a glaring need for the last decade. “We’ll look at the guys that are available in free agency and possible trades, and then we’ve got to weigh that out versus some guys who are starting to come through the pipeline that we feel like are major league shortstops,” Preller said. “I think ultimately it’s an area we’ll address, but that is going to be the discussion ... how far away we think some of these guys are and then what’s the acquisition cost in terms of dollars or players to get somebody that we can plug in and play there right now for next year.”