If we agree that David Eckstein and Jerry Hairston aren’t the answer at second base, then there needs to be someone taking over.
I’ve previously put out my agreement for Oscar Salazar, as statistical analysis shows that his solid offense and horrific defense is better than the average defense and terrible offense of Eckstein or Hairston.
Matt Antonelli is another candidate, although he’s currently on the disabled list in Triple-A. He also has struggled mightily in the minors the past two years.
There’s also Double-A second baseman Logan Forsythe, who is ready for Triple-A offensively, but the former third baseman is still getting used to the keystone defensively, so he’s likely to provide similarly to Salazar. You also don’t want to rush him, as he’s one of the best prospects in the system, and will be important to the Padres long-term.
There are some other options–Triple-A infielders Lance Zawadzki and Craig Stansberry, for example–but here’s a completely off-the-wall idea I just had.
One place the Padres have some depth is the outfield. Kyle Blanks and Will Venable are everyday players in the corners, and currently Scott Hairston and Tony Gwynn platoon in center.
Let’s say the Padres release Eckstein. That would leave a 40-man spot (and 25-man spot) open for Chris Denorfia, who could come up as an extra outfielder.
Denorfia, a right-handed hitter with the ability to handle center, could make a solid center field platoon partner for Gwynn, who struggles against lefties.
That would make Hairston expendable in the outfield picture.
And kick him to second base.
Scott Hairston came up as a second baseman with the Diamondbacks several years ago, and was an acceptable if below-average defender there. He posted a UZR/150 in the -8/-10 range. It could be worse.
Salazar, on the other hand, is a -18/-30 range defender at second.
If Hairston could play second anywhere near as well as he used to, he would be a better defender than Salazar while providing similar offense. Denorfia is also an upgrade on Eckstein’s offense, so that helps as well.
It’s a creative and odd solution, but it’s another configuration that’s probably better than the current setup.