As I discussed in one of my articles last week, CBSsports’ Jon Heyman reported that San Diego was rumored to be one of the teams that was interested in pursuing 3B/1B Eric Chavez. While I didn’t think it would be prudent for San Diego to acquire a Third Baseman, I do however think that the Padres should be on the look-out for a utility infielder (one that plays 2B or SS) on the cheap.
With the Free Agency period still going on, Jon Heyman again discussed in a post on CBSsports.com recently that there still are a glut of serviceable utility infielders on the market just waiting to be picked up by a team like San Diego. Names like Ryan Theriot, Aaron Miles, Jack Wilson, Edgar Renteria are all still on the market. And guys like Miles, Wilson, and even Theriot could be affordable enough for San Diego if they are willing to spend the dough.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the fact that the Padres have to negotiate extensions with Cameron Maybin, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, etc.. Those guys are the future of this club and should be the franchise’s top priority at the moment, make no mistake. However, since there is little to no experienced or talented depth behind Hudson and Bartlett heading into 2012, signing one of the aforementioned guys to a one to two year deal on the cheap might be in San Diego’s best interest.
I realize that the Padres do not have an unlimited cash-flow like the Yankees or Red Sox. That’s the way it is, and likely the way it will always be. Yet if Hudson, Bartlett, or both go down, wouldn’t it be nice to turn to a guy that can at least “hold down the fort” in their absence? In addition, if either guy is traded, San Diego could benefit from a veteran coming in to keep the seat warm at either position before a youngster can be brought up later. And who knows? Maybe the guy can play some quality innings for the club if they can stay in contention in the always competitive N.L. West? (Wishful Thinking, I know).
But to get back on track, I’m happy with how aggressive the Padres have been this off-season by addressing team needs, building their farm system, and using their glut of talent at specific positions (SP and 1B) to their advantage by gaining talent elsewhere. If they decide to get a backup Middle Infielder, I’ll be happy they at least have something to fall back on if Hudson or Bartlett can’t make it through the year. If they don’t? Then I hope both guys have nice seasons, or one of the youngsters will step his game up and make an impact.
So now I put it to you the readers: Do you think San Diego should pursue any of these utility guys with experience playing up the middle? If so, who do you think the Padres’ Front Office should target? Would their signing help to signal an end of the “Hudson-Bartlett” combination in the short term until long-term replacements are found?
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