The Padres finally pulled the plug on struggling catcher Nick Hundley. Hundley was optioned to AAA Tucson after Friday night’s game. The writing seemed to be on the walls, when the Padres started left-handed hitting catcher John Baker against Jeff Francis, a left-handed pitcher.
The move was reported by U-T San Diego, and has sent a wave of surprise through the Padres fanbase.
Hundley signed a 3-year, $9 million extension prior to the 2012 season, a move that seemed beneficial for both sides. Hundley was coming off of a solid 2011, and had seemed to establish himself a solid Major League catcher.
Hundley got off to a brutal start, got hot for a few weeks, then went back down into the doldrums. For the year he has produced a triple slash line of .166/.226/.259, with 3 HR’s and 22 RBI’s. He has also struck out 50 K’s in 193 at-bats. He has been solid defensively, as he has thrown out 19 baserunners.
Yasmani Grandal is one of the Padres top prospects, and he has had a nice year at AAA Tucson. Grandal has put up a triple slash line of .335/.433/.521, with 6 HR’s and 35 RBI’s. He has an impressive approach at the plate, as he has walled 37 walks against 35 strikeouts. He made a brief appearance with the Padres this year, flying out in his only at-bat.
I am a big Nick Hundley fan, but this is a move that had to be made. Hundley has not shown the Padres anything offensively this year, and they have one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball waiting in the wings. Hopefully Hundley can go into the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and find his groove. The Padres will get a glimpse into their future with Grandal.