Padres Editorial: The Padres Options at Shortstop

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Sep 18, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg singles during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The wild card option I am throwing into the mix is Cory Spangenberg. While Spagenberg does not have the history of playing shortstop in the minors or at the pro level, I believe he may have the tools to do so. While in high school and junior college Spangenberg played third base, shortstop, and second base but settled at second due to his lack of arm strength.  The advantage that Spangenberg has, is he is a high average and on base guy, while Amarista and Barmes will struggle to swing the bat. Although he doesn’t have the history of playing short, he has been praised for his excellent defense at second base. With Jedd Gyorko at second and Yangervis Solarte and Will Middlebrooks battling for third, there really isn’t a spot for him at the other infield spots, so placing him at short might be an experiment worth trying.

Bud Black certainly has to like watching Spangenberg play, especially his bat, and needs to find a defensive position for him. Tools like his glove, speed and average make it seem like he could play short but arm strength and lack of power may hold him back.  In the minors he hit .296/.356/.405 and he just continued hitting last year in the majors with a .290/.313/.452 batting line.  With stats like that, it makes you wonder if Spangenberg could solve two issues for the 2015 Padres by playing shortstop and batting lead-off. Spangenberg is the mystery meat at the buffet, it could be good, it could be bad, but it’s worth a try.

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The Padres should let Spangenberg audition for shortstop this spring to see if he can handle the position defensively, sliding in right behind Amarista on the depth chart. If he performs well in spring and proves he can handle the rigors of the position, I would try him at short in the regular season. Sacrificing defense on a team that is already going to struggle in that category might not be worth the risk, but I hope we get to see Spangenberg try short this spring.

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