Padres Editorial: 3 Questions the Padres Must Address in March

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May 11, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Wil Myers (9) attempted to catch a fly ball during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Will the defense really be a huge issue?

Many are concerned with putting an outfielder with a lot of mileage like Matt Kemp in a spacious outfield like Petco. Questions arise: will he be able to cover his ground? Will his “runs surrendered” as a defender outweigh what he contributes offensively? Also, catcher has to be looked at as well.

Yasmani Grandal and especially Rene Rivera were solid behind the plate. Derek Norris can hold his own but the concern is he won’t be able to do it as well as Rivera did, especially handling a solid pitching staff like San Diego’s.

It has been announced that the Padres intend to stick Wil Myers out in center, counting on his athleticism more than experience. He rarely played centerfield with Tampa Bay, though he played the position well in the Minors. Justin Upton has the speed to be able to play a spacious left field and many forget Kemp actually played center field in 41 games last year and he is 4 seasons removed from a Gold Glove. So the fact that he is in right field shouldn’t be a huge concern. Myers has played 9 games in centerfield in the major leagues with a DRS (defensive runs saved) of +1.

Defensively, the Padres don’t look as bad as I originally thought after looking at some numbers. A healthy Kemp will create offensive enough to make up for his possible lack of ability as an every day right fielder.

The Friars will also play 10 interleague games on the road in which they would need a DH, which Kemp could easily do. Not to mention that the Padres have speedy, athletic reserves in Will Venable and Cameron Maybin to plug in when crucial defensive situations arise.