Nick Green? Why?

The Padres have signed journeyman infielder Nick Green to a minor league deal. He will report to Triple-A Portland.

This is the second head-scratching acquisition the Padres have made this week, the first being lefty Tyler Lumsden (who actually threw seven one-hit innings today, albeit with a characteristic 5 BB and 4 K).

Green is 31 and had been released by the Dodgers after hitting just .204/.235/.398 in Triple-A Albuquerque, one of the top five offensive environments in the minors (the other four, for what it’s worth, are probably Lancaster, High Desert, Las Vegas, and Colorado Springs). He then proceeded to hit .143/.217/.143 with the Blue Jays in the majors (sample size caveats obviously apply, but still…).

If a guy can’t manage a .250 OBP in the best hitter’s park in Triple-A, what use is he, particularly at age 31? Sure, Green’s an experienced player, and the Padres are thin in the infield after David Eckstein‘s injury, but why not just call up Logan Forsythe (who has a .400 OBP in Double-A) and see what he can do? Forsythe can outhit Green right now, and he has way more upside.

Another option is Anthony Contreras, who hit .286 in Triple-A this year before being demoted to San Antonio. Why not just call him up, move Cole Figueroa up to Double-A, and sign somebody from the Frontier League (where players are 26 and under) to play second for Lake Elsinore?

Or, if you want to go the free agent-to-Portland route, there has to be somebody out there who can hit over .200 in Triple-A. Heck, the Padres picked up Wily Mo Pena this week too–he’s just 28, and he can, you know, actually hit.

I know it sounds like I’m completely losing my cool over the meager signing of a Triple-A infielder, but this sort of move has all sorts of problems.

For one, you have to wonder if this is just one of those situations where a veteran signs on, plays a bit in Triple-A, and then gets called up to the majors. I don’t want Nick Green anywhere near the first-place San Diego Padres. I’d rather see Josh Barfield (.309/.327/.396), Sean Kazmar (.264/.318/.353), or Lance Zawadzki (.241/.316/.310). Hell, I’d rather see Forsythe rushed to the majors than see Nick Green with the Padres.

The other problem is that, as I mentioned before, the presence of Green in Triple-A is an obstacle to Forsythe coming up, and Forsythe should really be in Triple-A at this point. Yes, he’s only slugging .344, but that’s largely because San Antonio’s park is a terrible fit for him. He’s hitting .353/.511/.451 on the road, so don’t tell me the guy can’t hit.

Picking up Green is needless at best (if he is really just a filler guy) and destructive at worst (if the front office really sees him as a pre-Eckstein stopgap). There are a lot of middle infielders out there that make way more sense for San Diego to pick up.

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Tags: Nick Green Portland Beavers

  • Chris

    I completely agree here…especially with Antonelli finally ready to return to the field. Even if Anto gets sent to A-ball to work back into shape, there will eventually be a bit of a logjam at AAA. The Pena move seems to be great, but the other two you mentioned…I’m on the same page! Glad I found this blog!

    • Nathaniel Stoltz

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad we’re on the same page!

  • Larry Faria

    Do Not Be Alarmed. The padres front office people are geniuses (genii?) and should not be second-guessed.

    Seriously, I think they’re just filling in bare spots with stopgaps, because they don’t want to move up AA guys before their time. Maybe they think it’s easier for them to adjust when moved up to the next level at the beginning of a season, because they earned the promotion, than to break up the San Antonio team to fill in gaps in Portland, where the atmosphere is pretty grim. Maybe better to sign these fill ins so you can call up a Barfield, Zawadzki or Kazmar without causing damage to Portland OR San Antonio’s roster.

    At least that’s how I see it. Did I mention that the Padres front office staff are geniuses?

    • Nathaniel Stoltz

      I’m with you on all of that, except that I think there are better fill-ins than Green out there. As long as they don’t call him up to San Diego or block the playing time of better players, fine, the move is just needless, not disastrous.