Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! This is a new, weekly segment that will recap some of the highlights (and perhaps low-lights) of the past few days, recent trends, and other general thoughts concerning the Padres. It will be opinionated, passionate, and sometimes arguable. So I encourage all of you to comment, agree, dispute or even challenge the content and let’s get the conversation going across Padres nation!
Things We Learned: Jedd Gyorko needs to be the opening day starter at 2B.
Isn’t there a saying that goes something like, “If you can hit, they’ll find a spot to put you in the lineup”? Well, Jedd Gyorko can hit, and he needs to find a spot in the field, specifically at 2B. He wasted no time this spring showing Bud Black and Josh Byrnes that he is ready to contribute at the major league level by hitting a grand slam in his first AB on Friday. He followed it up with a couple more RBIs on Saturday. It’s time to give him the keys to 2B and see what this highly-touted prospect can do full time. As long as Chase Headley occupies 3B, Gyorko is blocked from playing there. Let the other 2B candidates fight over SS because, let’s be honest, none of them are that special anyway. While Everth Cabrera did steal over 40 bags last season, he has had what has seemed like a lifetime to prove himself as an everyday player and has done virtually nothing with his plethora of opportunities except, oh yeah, been linked with a PED lab. While Logan Forsythe is a nice player and has had some mild success over the past two seasons, he does not have nearly the upside Gyorko does. And Alexi Amarisa did have a solid 2012 with the club, but I need to see more of a sample size to be fully convinced. And hey, if he is the real deal, put him at SS, and you got yourself a pretty, darn good infield. Start Gyorko at 2B.
Other things we learned: The back end of the starting rotation is still a huge work in progress.
The last two spots in the starting rotation are up for grabs. We know Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, and Jason Marquis will likely be in there every fifth day, assuming all stay healthy. But until Cory Luebke and Andrew Cashner return from Tommy John surgery and a freak thumb injury, respectively, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the 4th and 5th starters will be. You also have to assume Joe Wieland won’t be ready to return to the big leagues until September at the earliest, as he continues to recover from his own Tommy John surgery. It very well could be a rotation-by-committee type of situation. Is Casey Kelly ready to step into a full time role? Anthony Bass has been solid as both a reliever and spot starter, but can he pitch every fifth day? The Padres acquired Tyson Ross over the off-season from the Oakland A’s (basically the only move the organization made), but can he really be counted on as a consistent arm in the rotation? Freddy Garcia looked less than stellar in his first start of the spring on Sunday, giving up four earned runs, five runs total, on five hits and a HBP . Perhaps as spring training continues, any one of these guys will step up, but as of now the Padres clearly have some holes to fill in the rotation.