Chris Denorfia.


Isn’t that fun to say?

Denorfia. Denorfia. De-norf-i-a (giggle).

Okay, maybe I’m just easily amused.

Denorfia is a former Reds prospect who also had some time as an extra outfielder with the A’s. A .279/.356/.380 career hitter in 237 PAs, he’s in Padres camp as an NRI hoping to catch on as a fifth outfielder.

He’s making the most of it, with a .346 batting average and three steals.

Denorfia will be 30 in July, so he’s no prospect, but he’s got a skillset that makes him a practically perfect fifth outfielder. He’s a career .305/.363/.449 hitter in Triple-A in addition to his impressive major league line.

Denorfia doesn’t have one standout skill, but he isn’t really bad at anything. He’s a guy who can hit in the .260-.280 range, walk some, hit some doubles and the occasional homer, steal the occasional base, play an acceptable center field, and be a plus defender in left or right.

He might not hit .279/.356/.380 as a starter, but a .265/.325/.365 line isn’t out of the question. That’s borderline as an everyday CF, but makes for a good reserve, particularly for the league minimum salary.

Denorfia doesn’t really have a clear path to a job on the Padres, who will have Kyle Blanks, Scott Hairston, Will Venable, and Tony Gwynn on the team.

Aaron Cunningham and Matt Stairs are fighting with Denorfia for the fifth outfielder spot. Cunningham certainly isn’t going to play every day in the majors this season, so if the Padres want him to get a full season’s worth of development, he’s probably best off at Triple-A.

As much as I like Stairs, Venable needs a platoon partner, and Denorfia would fit well as a third right-handed-hitting outfielder and a fourth guy (along with Gwynn, Venable, and Hairston) who is a plus defender. If the Padres are going to add either Stairs or Denorfia to the 40-man, I think the man with the funny name should be the one who gets the call.

Tags: Chris Denorfia Padres

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