Sum of All Parts Equals More for Padres in 2016?

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As the Padres added another utility infielder in Skip Schumacher this week, it continues to show a marked difference that A.J. Preller is pursuing this off-season as opposed to the last one. Namely, instead of just going for a few big names to fill out his roster, he appears to be piecing together this team with small parts. Will the sum of those parts equal a deeper, more well rounded Padres team in 2016?

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If I read one more article this year about the Padres needing Wil Myers to rebound for the team to reach their potential, I will continue to shake my head at that entire notion. Major League ball clubs are not like NBA teams – where one player can have such a dramatic difference on an entire team. Except for maybe when Barry Bonds was in his prime, but even that was dependent on the Giants having other players to take advantage of the times Bonds was walked intentionally to clean things up.

This year – the Padres have very few clear starters at ANY position. Matt Kemp is entrenched in right. Who is in center? Jon Jay or Melvin Upton Jr.? Jon Jay figures to start in left but are we really comfortable with the elder Upton full time in center?

Yangervis Solarte and Cory Spangenberg have the jobs to lose at third base, but neither one has played an entire season in the major leagues at those positions. This year Myers is slotted in at first base – but see note above about his injury history. New shortstop Alexei Ramirez seems a good bet to play the most games on the team at shortstop, but he is also the Padres oldest starter. The Padres still have three catchers as well so how that playing time will be split will be interesting to watch develop under new manager Andy Green.

Maybe, just maybe, this might work out – but it figures to be a huge test for a rookie manager to mix and match successfully. Solarte adds some nice depth being a switch hitter and he too can play some other positions.

In the starting rotation, it is a little more settled at the top with James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross. Beyond that you have Brandon Maurer who was in the bullpen all season, followed by youth in Colin Rea and Robbie Erlin or possibly Carlos Villanueva – who has 76 career MLB starts but hasn’t started more than 10 games since 2013.

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The Padres seem to be banking on Green’s ability to put the right players in the right spot at the right time, and might be able to withstand more injury than last year’s team. It wouldn’t surprise me to see multiple games where Derek Norris starts behind the plate, but might move over to first when Wil Myers is lifted after pulling a hamstring, and then Solarte comes over to second base when Spangenberg is lifted for a pinch hitter and Jose Pirela takes over at third. Or Adam Rosales, who knows!

How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but the Padres continue to build a stable of pieces that seem to be both interchangable and complementary to each other. One thing seems to be certain: the scorecards will be busy this year at Petco Park.

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