Paul Molitor‘s recent comments that Danny Santana would not be assured the starting shortstop job, got me thinking. With manager Molitor’s proclamation that there will be an open competition between Santana and another young shortstop, Eduardo Escobar…does that make him expendable?. Santana is a 24-year old, Dominican, switch-hitting shortstop and center fielder. He played 69 games in center and 34 at shortstop. In 120 chances at shortstop, he only made two errors. A .319 hitter with 7 home runs and 40 runs batted in to go with 20 stolen bases in 2014, he would provide the speed the Padres desire, add that to his flexibility and youth, the sky is the limit.
Kennys Vargas is a mammoth (6-5, 275 lbs.) 24-year old Puerto Rican slugger who quite frankly reminds me of David “Big Papi”Ortiz. Like Ortiz, Vargas’ forte is not playing the field. He is an average-to-below average fielding first baseman at the moment, but I believe he can easily work on that. Vargas, a switch-hitter as well, was on fire upon first being called up to the Major Leagues. He cooled down a bit come September, but finished with the respectable numbers of .274, nine home runs and 38 runs batted in. In 215 at-bats he did strike out 63 times, so he does need work in that area.
These two players figure in the Twins’ plans for this year, so they likely would not come cheap. Santana and Vargas are also young, which is why the Padres would have to part with talented young players as well. Let’s face it, Rymer Liriano has no worth on this roster. In past seasons, he would probably be playing everyday and hitting in the middle of the lineup. That is the past however, and with Matt Kemp and Wil Myers blocking him long term in the outfield, and Justin Upton here this year, he is bound for Triple-A.
Kelly has quite a bit of upside too, but after Tommy John surgery, he is not the “cant miss” prospect he once was. Yonder would simply give the Twins a better replacement at first base for Joe Mauer. I believe the prospective deal makes perfect sense, if you want me to get the ball rolling on this A.J., tweet me…