With an abundance of second basemen, would the San Diego Padres consider moving one of their young infielders in order to gain starting pitching?
The San Diego Padres are not going to be afraid to make big splashes in the upcoming Winter Meetings. The question is, which of their young prospects will they sacrifice for their clear need in starting pitching?
Trading part of the team’s young core seems inevitable. As much as general manager A.J. Preller would like to keep all of the prospects, this is not realistic if they desire to add starting pitching as well. The question is, which player will be worth enough for the Padres to deal for a rotation starter yet not be greatly missed by the organization?
One answer could be Carlos Asuaje. The 25-year-old infielder spent less than a month in the big leagues in 2016, logging just 25 plate appearances. But Asuaje has a lot of upside, warranting him the 20th rank on MLB.com’s list of the club’s top 30 prospects.
Trading one of San Diego’s most promising prospects may not be ideal, but may be the best option for the organization. The reasoning behind this move would be sacrificing depth at the second base position in order to aid a depleted starting rotation for 2017 and beyond.
The Padres have four second basemen on their major league roster. Asuaje sits second on the team’s official depth chart behind Ryan Schimpf, and Cory Spangenberg and Alexi Amarista can play the position as well.
Obviously, the Padres aren’t going to move Schimpf. As one of their bright young stars and best power hitters, the infielder will be on the roster in 2017. The question is, will he be the team’s every day second baseman?
There are two possible scenarios. One would take into account a Yangervis Solarte trade, which is plausible. If this happens, the team’s next best option at third would likely be Schimpf, also a natural at the hot corner.
The other possibility is if the team decides not to trade Solarte. If this is the case, Schimpf will stay at second, and Asuaje won’t have an every day position to play.
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At this point, they could decide to make Asuaje a utility player. After all, he isn’t quite ready to play every day. The only problem is though, Spangenberg and Amarista will remain in the mix. These players would not provide the team as much value, but certainly aren’t minor league caliber.
Therefore, the only conclusion in this scenario which maximizes San Diego’s resources is to trade Asuaje for starting pitching. Being a promising young player, the team could get a reasonably solid third or fourth starter which could make a world of difference. Of course, no one wants to trade top prospects. But if the Padres are to improve, they will need to find a way to sacrifice without feeling a direct impact.
This possible trade most likely only comes if Solarte is dealt, but it is still important to consider. With the Padres’ overabundance of second basemen, they could either use this to their advantage or keep the depth in fear that they might need it. The logical answer for a rebuilding team seems to be to pursue the pitching.