Padres Editorial: Implications of Getting an Everyday Shortstop


The San Diego Padres still have some holes to fill.  Their biggest weaknesses remain: lead-off hitter, speed in the outfield, and no clear, everyday shortstop.  The lead-off role could be filled by Derek Norris.  The other two, or possibly all three, could be filled by one move – finding someone who can man shortstop everyday and be productive.

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Perhaps Alexi Amarista, going into his age-26 season will finally start to get on base consistently. Perhaps Clint Barmes will dip into the fountain of youth and prosper at age 36.  Cory Spangenberg could use his great speed and range to overcompensate for his sub-par throwing arm while also getting on base frequently enough to stay in the lineup.  Or GM A.J. Preller could sign Yoan Moncada as is now possible.  But Moncada isn’t likely to be ready in 2015.  Amarista consistently puts up an OBP in the .280s and has yet to make much improvement.  Barmes was brought on more to fulfill a leadership role than to play everyday.  Spangenberg is defensively still a question mark.  And who knows how well he will do after his cup of coffee in September.  Remember that he only had a .313 OBP.

But out of those possibilities, in addition to the options of a prospect coming out of nowhere, a trade, or adding a free agent, let us say that the Padres do, in fact, get an everyday shortstop.  If Spangenberg or someone else with speed and on-base ability were the guy, then all three of the Padres’ biggest holes would be filled.  Beyond the obvious potential lead-off hole being solved.

Amarista, who has wonderful outfield range, could go roam the vast expanse of green in the later innings.  I don’t think anyone wants to see a ball fall in the gap in the late innings of a close game because Wil Myers is out in center field rather than someone fast.  Bud Black would no longer have to waste his most versatile player on a position he is not equipped to play everyday from an offensive standpoint.  The implications of what happens to the outfield are more interesting than just filling in the shortstop and potentially the lead-off man.  By freeing up Amarista, Will Venable and Cameron Maybin are completely expendable.  This would net another roster spot, as one spot might be filled by another shortstop, along with getting rid of two disappointing players.

Next: Amarista Ready To Compete For Starting Job

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