The Padres and A.J. Preller Can’t Be Done…Yet

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What an amazing week-plus we’ve seen as fans and writers that cover the San Diego Padres! The team went from arguably one of the worst offenses and lineups in recent baseball history, to one that is now a serious candidate to compete for a postseason berth. Padres’ GM A.J. Preller has made his mark, and has shown his fellow executives that they cannot sleep on the San Diego Padres any longer. But is this team ready for Opening Day 2015? Not even close!

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What else can the Padres do? They have what seems like 15 outfielders on the current roster, so unloading some of those pieces is a start. We can’t believe for one second that Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista are going to be the answers at shortstop. What about Cory Spangenberg? Has he not earned a long look for a roster spot coming out of camp this spring? The team needs a lead-off hitter, they are too right-handed, and they need to decide who or what is going to man first base.

So what do the Padres do with Seth Smith? He signed an extension with the old regime, who told him they wouldn’t move him. Do the Padres live up to that unwritten promise? Do they attempt to move he or Carlos Quentin to first base? What do they do with Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and the underperforming bunch? What about the further development of top prospect Austin Hedges? Is he now expendable due to the acquisition of All-Star catcher Derek Norris? What will A.J. Preller do?

Jon Heyman reported that the Padres did not win the bidding rights on Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang. How about instead, adding left-handed hitting, solid with the leather free agent shortstop Stephen Drew on a two-year deal? Sure he had a poor 2014 with the Red Sox and Yankees, but if he can revert back to his 2013 numbers, a season in which he went yard 13 times and had solid run production in the lower-third of the order, he could be a solid addition for very little money.

Could trade deadline acquistion Yangervis Solarte, who is a switch-hitter, be the guy to man shortstop? Could he handle the lead-off spot? The Padres don’t have many options on the current roster, and their top shortstop prospect, Trea Turner is now a player to be named later. A guy who will remain in the Padres’ minor league system until June, when he will move on to his new club as part of the Wil Myers deal. Solarte has 31 games of shortstop experience at the minor league level, and 18 errors in 125 chances. Not great by any means. Could he, Spangenberg, Barmes, or Amarista fight for the starting gig come spring training?

Welcome to the Brave New World that is the San Diego Padres. A.J. Preller has given the fans something to be excited about for the first time in a very long time. So far, it’s been the most exciting winter in Padres’ history. You can win an off-season on paper, but if it doesn’t translate to wins on the scoreboard, it’s all for not. What else do the Padres and Preller have up their sleaves?

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