First of all, let me just issue an enormous congratulations to the Padres on winning two of three during their most recent series against the Dodgers at “Chavez Ravine.” Slowly but surely this team is beginning to gel, and if the injury-bug does not attack this team in 2013 like it has in 2012, the Friars could flirt with a .500 record and see even more marked improvement. But as much as I would like to conjure up thoughts about the Padres continuing to build their franchise into a winning ball-club, some nice things have been happening in the present. Especially the new trend in which San Diego’s Front Office and new ownership staff are actively trying to keep their core players.
Yesterday, the Friars continued this aforementioned trend when they signed Outfielder Chris Denorfia to a 2-year contract extension that will keep “Deno” with the ball-club through the 2014 season. I for one tip my cap to the Front Office for making this move, so today I thought that I would share my thoughts on the extension, and why the decision to bring Denorfia back will ultimately benefit the ball-club.
From an Offensive standpoint, Denorfia brings two important things to San Diego’s lineup: versatility and consistency. Versatility-wise, “Deno” has the ability to hit in almost any spot in San Diego’s lineup, and has done so over the course of his career with the team. The veteran Outfielder can hit 1st, 2nd, or 5th through 8th for the Padres, and has seen time at spots 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 in 2012. Anytime Denorfia is asked to start a game, Manager Bud Black can pretty much build his batting order with the knowledge that “Deno” can fill in adequately no matter where Black decides to have hit ultimately hit.
While Denorfia’s ability to hit in numerous spots in the batting order is nice, the consistency which he has displayed at the dish over the last three seasons has been what fans like me have been impressed with arguably the most. Since coming to San Diego in 2010, Denorfia has been a model of consistency from a hitting standpoint. Granted, “Deno” has not set the world ablaze with his stats, but he has done a far better job than a number of Padres’ Outfielders which have underwhelmed over the last three seasons:
874 At-Bats, 244 Hits, .279 Batting Average, 44 Doubles, 9 Triples, 20 Home Runs, 85 RBI’s, 80 Walks to 148 Strikeouts Ratio, and a .340 On-Base Percentage
The two statistics which I am particularly fond of above deal with Denorfia’s On-Base Percentage and Walk to Strikeout Ratio. While other potential leadoff hitters like Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera, and Will Venable have had their issues with plate discipline, Denorfia has done a steady job in both that department and getting on base on a consistent basis as well. I understand that maybe the veteran Outfielder might not possess the wheels that Maybin, Cabrera, Venable, or even Alexi Amarista do. But “Deno’s” consistent approach has established him as one of San Diego’s most unheralded producers over the last three years, and made him a secure option for the team to turn to when his number is called..
Helps Defense & Depth
As much as I like Denorfia and his ability to hit with consistency, Denorfia has been a jack-of-all trades type of player for the Friars in the Outfield as well. Now used as more of an option in the corner Outfield spots, Denorfia has started 149 combined games between Left and Right Fields since 2010 and committed only 4 Errors during said span. In addition to his ability to play in the corners, Denorfia also possesses the ability to play Center Field. Despite the fact that Maybin has developed into one of the better N.L. Centerfielders from a defensive standpoint, Denorfia is a solid and experienced backup that can come in handy. From 2010-2012, “Deno” has started 57 games in Center Field for the Padres, has logged 690.1 Innings there over his seven year career, and even took some playing time away from Maybin when he was really struggling at the plate this season.
As I have alluded to somewhat above, having a player like Chris Denorfia on a roster is also significant from a depth perspective as well. Even if he does not start a game, Denorfia has shown himself to be a valuable bench and role player. Denorfia can give the Padres a solid Right-Handed bat off the bench, and has logged plenty of Pinch-Hitting experience over his career when he has not started. And due to the fact that #13 can play all three Outfield positions, Denorfia can come in as a Defensive Replacement in the later Innings as well.
I really have to tip my hat to Denorfia, because if there was any player on this roster deserving and extension after Chase Headley, Quentin, and Huston Street, it was Chris. Furthermore, I must credit the Padres for making yet another sensible move and locking up one of their most consistent players to an extremely cost-effective extension. While the extension might not appear “sexy” by the media’s standards of price or player signed, the Friars did what I believe was the right thing for their ball-club. Over the next two seasons we should see exactly who the Front Office deems worthy of keeping around for the long-haul and who is integral to this team’s success. As it stands now, “Deno” will be sticking around for an extended period, and the Padres should continue to receive some great effort and efficient play from their Outfielder.
Share your thoughts Friars Fans: Are you happy with Denorfia’s extension? Why or why not?
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference