Shortstop Needs to be Defense First

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As the roster stands now, the Padres are set to have one of the worst defenses in baseball next year.  The Padres could go after Ben Zobrist.  It would be disastrous to put another guy who has below average range into the lineup.  As much as the combination of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes at SS seems like a hole, given the makeup of the apparent starters, they may be essential.

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While Wil Myers has been rumored as going to Philadelphia in a deal for Cole Hamels, we cannot assume that will happen.  So, as it stands the Padres will send out:

C: Derek Norris, Tim Federowicz

1B: Yonder Alonso, Tommy Medica

2B: Jedd Gyorko

3B: Will Middlebrooks, Yangervis Solarte

SS: Alexi Amarista, Clint Barmes

LF: Justin Upton

CF: Wil Myers

RF: Matt Kemp

That leaves one roster spot for: Cory Spangenberg, Abraham Almonte, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Rymer Liriano, or (sigh) Carlos Quentin.  Now, either Solarte or Middlebrooks may find himself in AAA or on another team, but as it stands now, they seem to be on the big league roster.  This defensive lineup is horrifying when looking at the defensive WAR of the 12 players named above in 2014:

C: 0.7

1B: 0.1

2B: -0.8

3B: -0.7

SS: 2.0

LF: -0.9

CF: -1.1

RF: -3.1

Those numbers total out to a dWAR of -3.8.  Keep in mind that Wil Myers’ dWAR was better because he played RF rather than in CF where the Padres see him playing in 2015.  Of the 10 players listed along with their positions above (not counting the catchers), only Upton and Myers had range factors per nine innings above league average.  And Myers won’t be in RF again.  In fact, only Amarista was average, in terms of range factor, leaving seven non-catchers noticeably below the league average.  The defensive grades I would give to each position, with the roster as it stands would be:

C: B-

1B: C

2B: C

3B: D+

SS: A-

LF: C+

CF: D-

RF: D-

If the Padres were to trade Myers away, CF would be left to Almonte, Maybin, and Venable.  While all three are above average in terms of range factor and defensive WAR, the infield cannot be manned by all average to below-league average defenders.

If Cory Spangenberg proves that he has the arm to man SS, then he could very well take the job.  He has great range and would be a very good defender.  But the Padres cannot sacrifice defense at SS for another offensive upgrade.

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