San Diego Sundays: Heavy Outfield Surplus Is A Blessing
By Matt Mirro
The San Diego Padres have had a truly fantastic off-season. They’ve acquired not one, not two, but three superstar-caliber outfielders in Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, while also bolstering the catcher’s position with Derek Norris and third base with Will Middlebrooks. But, the unfortunate (At least it’s unfortunate on the surface) byproduct is the the now heavy outfield surplus. The team started the off-season with too few outfielders, but now find themselves with far tool many. But, this off-season, having a surplus like this is a blessing, not a curse, as it gives the Friars some options.
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Aside from Kemp, Myers and Upton these are the following outfielders on the roster (Age on Opening Day included).
- Rymer Liriano (23)
- Carlos Quentin (32)
- Seth Smith (32)
- Abraham Almonte (25)
- Cameron Maybin (27)
- Will Venable (32)
At this point, the trade market for Maybin is probably minimal. His injury history and recent suspension have hindered his value. I find it hard to believe that Maybin would willingly accept a bench role. Quentin could still be of use to the team, perhaps as a first baseman or part-time outfielder. Like Maybin, injuries have hurt his trade value but a team like the Baltimore Orioles, who have lost two key pieces in Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, could be interested in making a deal for the slugger.
Smith is probably the one who could garner the biggest return. Being able to play every outfield position while possessing a decent bat makes him a valuable trade piece. He’s too overqualified to be a bench jockey and their are plenty of teams who might be interested in acquiring his services. Liriano will probably stay in the organization, probably returning back to the minors. The only way I could see him getting dealt is if he was packaged in with some other prospects as part of a larger deal.
Almonte still has time to grow, but he’ll likely end up back in the minors come Opening Day. He wouldn’t garner much on the trade market by himself but could be packaged in to bring back a decent return. Venable is probably the best option to be the team’s fourth outfielder. However, he could be dealt to a team like the Orioles (They really need some outfield help as you could see.), Seattle Mariners or Toronto Blue Jays, but likely wouldn’t be their first choice in a trade.
There is a point to all this babbling that I’m sure has all of you dazed and confused. This off-season there has been a nonstop mad dash for outfield support. The Padres scooped up the top-tier players, which has caused the ultimate logjam. But, as teams like the Orioles, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Marlins among others remain in search of reinforcements, the Padres have become baseball’s number one shopping destination for all things outfield.
As it always does, the trade market is giving the edge to the the sellers. The Padres have a lot of parts that could be packed up, shipped out, and sold to help improve other positions like shortstop and first base. It’s likely that the trade market won’t heat back up again until after we’ve been thoroughly annoyed by the new hosts of New Year’s Rocking Eve. When that time comes, General Manager A.J. Preller will likely be looking to live up to his new legendary status and continue his extensive wheeling and dealing.
An outfield surplus is a manager’s nightmare but something to this extent is a general manager’s dream. Preller has an opportunity to bulk up the roster even further. We know for certain that San Diego won’t be entering the season with eight outfielders on the 25-man roster. How the front office breaks up the logjam would be an interesting storyline going forward.