Apr 11, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Will Venable (left) and left fielder Carlos Quentin (center) and center fielder Cameron Maybin (right) wait to run onto the field before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
TOO MANY OUTFIELDERS
The first, and perhaps most obvious, concern for the Padres is the glut of outfielders the team is currently carrying. After adding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers in one memorable week in December, the team had seven experienced outfielders, not to mention a few other players who manned the outfield for last year’s squad. While Preller has already begun to address this problem, trading Seth Smith to the Seattle Mariners for swingman pitcher Brandon Maurer this week, there is still work to be done.
Carlos Quentin, who was the Padres’ primary power threat the past three years, despite missing 268 games to injury, may be the biggest problem Preller faces. Quentin is due $8 million this year, his wobbly knees make him nearly useless as an outfielder, and there are only ten games in which the Padres will be using a Designated Hitter this year. Quentin’s 2014 line of 50 games played, 4 homers, 18 RBI, and a .177 batting average do not make him an attractive target in trades. But his history as a run-producer could have some power-hungry teams looking for an inexpensive fix. If the Padres are willing to pay most of his salary, they just might find an AL team to take Quentin off their hands. But the more likely outcome is that Quentin will only be a drain on the payroll this season.
Defensively, Cameron Maybin and Will Venable are the Padres’ best options to play center field. But that isn’t going to happen much with the newcomer Myers scheduled to man center field. Maybin is now an expensive fourth outfielder option, with two years remaining on his 5-year, $25 million contract, which seemed like a bargain at the time of the signing. He is scheduled to earn $7 million this year. Venable is a cheaper option, but doesn’t cover quite as much ground as Maybin. Neither is a strong option off the bench.
Abraham Almonte, Alexi Amarista, Tommy Medica, Jake Goebbert, Rymer Liriano, and Cory Spangenberg all tried to help ease the outfield’s woes last year. Almonte and Liriano seem the most likely to see any time there this season. But their hopes are largely dependent on the Padres’ ability to move some of the pricier talent to free up a little room.