When one thinks of Padres and their Utility players, the names Jesus Guzman and Alexi Amarista immediately come to mind. Both players however might have some company and increased competition for playing time at various spots around the field in 2013.
According to Corey Brock of Padres.com, the Friars are now attempting to use Infielder Logan Forsythe in a similar Infield/Outfield Utility capacity during the 2013 season. The Padres’ Beat Writer reported last week that Forsythe worked out for the Coaching Staff in the Outfield, and it appears that the Padres would like to use their starting Second Baseman over the last half of the 2012 season out in Left Field at times during the 2013 season.
Although the attempt to use Forsythe in an expanded Utility role in 2013 itself might seem a bit odd and shocking at this point in the offseason, I believe that the move could pay huge dividends for both Logan and the Padres alike.
As far as Forsythe being moved to the Outfield, it certainly would not hurt the Padres to have some added depth roaming Petco Park’s grass, particularly in Left Field. Although veteran Carlos Quentin is entrenched as the starter in Left, he does no possess the most healthy of knees, and could always use a late-Inning Defensive replacement or spot starter in his place. Plus, I am sure that when the Padres are in an Interleague series on the road that Quentin will be used in a Designated Hitter role more than if it all in the Outfield. Forsythe is sure to have some stiff competition to face in the form of Amarista though, especially because of the fact that “Little Ninja” is a backup at Second Base and Shortstop as well.
I certainly cannot blame the Padres for exploring such a move, especially with the way their Infield is projected to look to begin the season. And for that specific that reason, a move to the Outfield would definitely benefit Forsythe if he wants to see more playing time in 2013.
In terms of Forsythe’s chances to start at Third Base, his natural spot, it is unlikely that Chase Headley will ever relinquish his starting spot for however long he is with the franchise. Plus, the 2012 Gold Glove Award winner has started 424 games at the position over the last 3 years, so an injury to the team’s best player or a once-in-a-blue-moon day-off are really only Forsythe’s chance of starting there.
As Brock tweeted back in Decemeber, the starting Shortstop gig should be Everth Cabrera’s to lose this Spring. So in the event that Cabrera has a strong Spring and can be a demon on the base-paths again in 2013, Forsythe is unlikely to see much time at Shortstop. As far as available playing time at Second Base goes, Forsythe’s potential reps could hinge upon whether or not touted prospect Jedd Gyorko ends up making the big league roster out of Spring Training. In the event that Gyorko sticks and stays and begins to see extended time at Second Base, Forsythe’s chances to start regularly in the Infield will surely be even more limited than they were last year.
As far as Forsythe’s offensive production is concerned, the Padres should at least try to find multiple ways to insert Forsythe into the lineup if he is able to produce as well as he did towards the end of last year. Over the final two months of the 2012 season (48 Games), Forsythe hit .281 (48 for 171), smacked 7 Doubles, 1 Triple, 4 Home Runs, and put up 15 RBI’s to go along with a solid .404 Slugging Percentage. During this period, Forsythe also proved he could make things happen on the base-paths as he scored 29 Runs and recorded and On-Base Percentage of .342 also. No matter where he has to play, or who Forsythe has to fill in for, the Padres could definitely use a consistent bat in their lineup on a nightly basis, as well as a reliable bat off of the bench.
Forsythe’s progress in Left Field will definitely be a “Spring Storyline” to follow for us Frairs faithful. If Forsythe illustrates that he is an adequate option in Left Field, I will also be intrigued to see what decisions San Diego inevitably makes regarding the futures of their other Utilitymen, Jesus Guzman and Alexi Amarista.
The more positions Forsythe can inevitably play, the more chances he will have to contribute and prove himself in the lineup on a consistent basis. As I mentioned previously, the Padres might need Forsythe’s bat and his ability to get on base near the top lineup as much as possible, especially if the team begins the season slumping on Offense like they did in 2012. Thus, the more capacities which Forsythe can be used, the better, because this team could need him in many different areas over the 162-game marathon of a regular season.
Stats & Contract Information Courtesy of: Baseball Reference