Matt Kemp is a Padre! …Now What?


It’s true. Matt Kemp is a Padre! Exciting, isn’t it?

As he instantly becomes the new face of the team, Kemp is likely to be given the starting job in center field, or wherever else he wants to play.

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That means Cameron Maybin moves over. Or hits the bench.

Yasmani Grandal is gone. No more experimenting with him at first base. He’s the Dodgers’ problem now. And Tim Federowicz looks like the new backup to Rene Rivera.

While it appears unlikely that hardworking Padres General Manager A.J. Preller will now sit back and rest after acquiring one middle-of-the-order bat, what does the team look like right now?

C: Rivera

Backup: Federowicz

1B: Yonder Alonso/Tommy Medica platoon?

2B: Jedd Gyorko

SS: Alexi Amarista

3B: Yangervis Solarte

Utility: Clint Barmes

LF: Seth Smith/Carlos Quentin platoon?

CF: Kemp

RF: Will Venable/Cameron Maybin platoon?

What will the lineups look like? Perhaps this:

Lineup vs Righties

  1. Venable
  2. Solarte
  3. Smith
  4. Kemp
  5. Gyorko
  6. Alonso
  7. Amarista
  8. Rivera

Lineup vs Lefties

  1. Maybin
  2. Solarte
  3. Kemp
  4. Quentin
  5. Gyorko
  6. Medica
  7. Amarista
  8. Rivera

Three platoons don’t make for a very flexible roster, especially when the platoons are outfielders/first basemen. That leaves only one spot for a backup 2B/3B/SS. With the Padres signing veteran shortstop Clint Barmes, that position appears to be filled. That likely means last season’s call-up, Cory Spangenberg, will start the season at Triple-A El Paso.

And what about Rymer Liriano, Jake Goebbert, and Abraham Almonte, who all saw time on the major league roster this year?

We should probably assume that any of the players listed above are fair game for the trade market, with the obvious exception of Kemp, and maybe Gyorko and Rivera.

How about Hunter Renfroe and Alex Dickerson, two talented outfielders likely to start the season in Triple-A? Let’s hope they hit well enough there to have the Padres trying to figure out how to gracefully excuse themselves from the contracts of Venable, Maybin, and Quentin, if Preller can’t unload the veterans this winter. It’s hard to imagine there’s much of a market for any of them. It’s possible Preller is right now saying “OK, we’ll give you Tyson Ross, but only if you take Carlos Quentin, too.”

How long until the Padres leadoff hitter of the future, shortstop Trea Turner, is ready? He’s only in A ball now, but the Padres’ need for speed atop the lineup might have them pulling him up the ladder quickly if he continues to hit like he did at Fort Wayne this year (.369/.447/.529).

Wait, wait, enough already! This is the kind of thinking that OLD Padres fans did. We have lots of Triple-A-level players who might be able to do something in the majors, and we get all caught up in thinking about the possibilities and which of these four-A players will be on the major league roster. On good teams, teams that spend money and put together rosters intended to win the World Series, you don’t worry so much about the AAA players. You sign guys like Matt Kemp. You continue to make a play for Justin Upton. You are among the final teams in the hunt for Yoenis Cespedes and Pablo Sandoval. We should fully expect this kind of behavior to continue. And if a Trea Turner or a Hunter Renfroe is winning MVP awards in Triple-A, we can make room for them.

It’s a different world now, Padres fans. And it starts today.