Padres News: Battle For Third Base Heats Up In Peoria

abeccarelli
facebooktwitterreddit

Last season the San Diego Padres traded long time third baseman Chase Headley, to the New York Yankees. In return, the Yankees gave the Padres utility player Yangervis Solarte, who did relatively well but not well enough to earn unanimous consent as the Padres third baseman of the future.

This off-season new General Manager, A.J. Preller, traded catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Boston Red Sox for third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks became a star in Boston during his 2012 rookie season, but failed to perform at the same level the last two seasons.

More from Padres News

Both Middlebrooks, Solarte, and former first-round draft pick Cory Spangenberg, are in Peoria now for Spring Training and all three are making their case to being the starting third baseman for the Padres.

So, who should get the starting job? Lets examine all three, beginning with Solarte.

Solarte has only one season in the majors under his belt. He hit .260/.336/.369 during his time with the Padres and Yankees last season. He performed well enough that he has earned himself a spot on the clubs final roster, but I don’t see him as an everyday starter.

Next, one of the Padres big acquisitions this year, Will Middlebrooks. Once believed to be the Red Sox third baseman of the future, Middlebrooks’ numbers dropped from .288/.325/.509 in 2012 to a meager .191/.256/.265 in 2014. When the Red Sox signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval this off-season, Middlebrooks time in Boston was over.

After Middlebrooks was acquired by the Padres, he was introduced to the San Diego media in a joint press meeting along with other recent additions Derek Norris, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers. This is a pretty clear sign that Preller believes and expects Middlebrooks to be a large part of the Padres for years to come. This alone, I feel gives Middlebrooks the edge over his competition.

Lastly, we have Corey Spangenberg. Drafted by the Padres in the first round during the 2011 draft, Spangenberg got a taste of the big leagues last season, hitting .290/.313/.452 in just 62 at bats. Spangenberg is one of my favorite Padre prospects and I hope to see a lot of him this season, whenever Buddy Black can fit him in.

While I think Spangenberg has the most to offer at third base, the Padres have been working on him as a second baseman more and more. Also, I think his lack of  big league experience will keep him out of the starting position, regardless of how well he performs in Peoria.

Right now, I am expecting Middlebrooks to start the season as the Padres starting third baseman. I’m fine with giving Middlebrooks first shot at starting because we know that he has performed at a high level before, and even if he as slumped the last couple of seasons, he is still a relatively young player with a lot of potential whom Preller believes can turn it around.

What do you guys think, who should be the Padres starting third baseman?

More from Friars on Base

facebooktwitterreddit