Padres Editorial: What Free Agent First Baseman Should Padres Target?

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Sep 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) singles during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At first base, the Padres have three current options on the roster: Wil Myers, Yonder Alonso, and Brett Wallace. Given the flexibility, GM A.J. Preller doesn’t need to go out and sign a free agent first baseman.

Before getting to the free agents (next page), however, let us discuss why the Padres should or should not add a first baseman.

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First: why not. The Padres have a great deal of flexibility at the position. Yonder Alonso hit for a very good .361 on-base. Granted, Alonso has little power at a historically slugging position. But the Padres are in dire need of a guy who can get on base. If healthy, Alonso is that guy.

Wallace hit very well last year in his 64 games. So, if Alonso gets injured they have a backup in Wallace.

Otherwise, the Padres have Myers to occupy first base. He hit far better when playing corner infield in 2015 – .875 OPS (.763 season total). Batting splits at different positions are not random. They can very much indicate the comfort of a player. With Myers having been injured much of the past two season, removing him from the outfield would lessen the toll on his body. Plus, while being an average defensive corner outfielder, Myers has Gold Glove potential at first.

By putting Myers at first, the club could fill left field with Rymer Liriano, Hunter Renfroe, or Alex Dickerson. Out of three highly touted prospects, one is bound to work out. Rather than signing an expensive and old free agent, the Padres could field a younger and longer lasting team.

The case for signing a free agent. The injury bug likes to bite Alonso and Myers. Who is to say they will be healthy? Wallace hit for a below league average .643 when having to actually man first base. And who can say when, or even if, any of these prospects will blossom into the kinds of players scouts say they can be?

Ultimately, a couple of these options are ultimately more productive than any option the Padres have. The team is constructed to win within the next couple years. Does waiting for a couple prospects make sense when Preller already traded away so many?