It has been speculated by many that the San Diego Padres front office might be inclined to part ways Everth Cabrera this off-season. Cabrera’s inability to follow the MLB substance abuse policy in back-to-back years has tarnished his reputation and reflects poorly on the organization. Outside of Cabrera’s poor judgement, he has also missed considerable time to injuries. With an organizational shakeup looming under Padres new GM, A.J. Preller, Cabrera has likely done too much damage to return with the team in 2015.
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In Cabrera’s absence, Padres’ super utility man, Alexi Amarista, was called on to fill the role of shortstop. During his time at short, Alexi was able to string together a few nice performances and flash enough leather to garner some support as a starter. Did he do enough to secure a starting job at shortstop next season? Should the Padres go with Alexi Amarista as their starting shortsop in 2015? My fellow staff writer, Mark Whelan believes the Friars should do just that. And as for my opinion?
1. He hasn’t earned it. In this league there is a minimum standard expectation to be met. Although Amarista has proven to be a reliable and healthy addition to the team who has filled in at all positions admirably, he hasn’t met it yet. Amarista has showed a lot of things: hustle, heart, and the desire to play. These traits may have earned him a roster spot on the team next season, but that roster spot shouldn’t be in the starting lineup.
Amarista’s dWAR which ranks him 7th in the National League among shortstops is far too small of a sample size to justify plugging him in at the position.
2. His offense is offensive. Amarista hasn’t had success anywhere in the lineup. Saying that Bud Black likes to tinker with his lineup is a severe understatement. Unfortunately for the Padres, even Black’s tinkering hasn’t helped Amarista find success at the plate anywhere. The truth is simple. Alexi Amarista can’t hit. In two and a half seasons with the Padres, Amarista hasn’t developed into a hitter. In fact, he isn’t even progressing as a hitter. Virtually the only thing that has changed is his slugging percentage. It’s dropped in consecutive years. His inability to produce at the plate has been a major sore spot for the young Venezuelan. If you can’t put the ball in play or get on base, you can’t create runs. And wouldn’t you know it – there’s even a stat for that. It’s called wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created) and is used to determine and quantify a player’s offensive contribution against the league average.
Out of 209 qualified players, Amarista ranks 200th. What? You’re not surprised? Of course you’re not. You have eyes. You’ve watched him play and have probably made your own assessment of his abilities long ago. Interestingly enough, the only player to play in more games than Amarista that is ranked lower than him is DJ LeMahieu of the Colorado Rockies. LeMahieu played one more game and sits at #204.
3. The Padres have better options. If the Padres are looking for a replacement at shortstop they need to look no further than their own organization. Yangervis Solarte has earned the right to play every day and Cory Spangenberg could break camp. If Spangenberg were to be awarded third base, Solarte would be a fine replacement at shortstop. And although Solarte’s defense at shortstop won’t win him any awards, it’s serviceable and the Padres need his bat in the lineup. It’s unlikely that the Padres would move Spangenberg to shortstop, so another option would be to scoop someone up in free agency or make a trade this off-season.
Starting positions in the MLB aren’t easy to come by.
Alexi Amarista hasn’t done enough to be named the Padres starting shortstop.