The San Diego Padres have ten decisions to make before Friday night’s deadline. Which arbitration eligible players will they re-sign?
The San Diego Padres more players than any other Major League team who are eligible for arbitration. While this further proves how young and inexperienced their roster is, it also means that the team will have a lot of decisions to make before Friday night.
The deadline to tender these ten players is 8:59 PM PT. If not, they will begin going through the arbitration process, meaning that their future with the organization will be uncertain.
Beyond them, three of the team’s top bullpen arms will also be high priorities to tender. This includes Brad Hand, Brandon Maurer, and Carter Capps. Given the lack of depth in this area, there is no reason to risk losing any of these productive arms.
Unlike past years though, there are questions for the Padres’ front office to debate. Derek Norris, a struggling backup catcher, doesn’t seem to be worth it anymore. Alexi Amarista is another utility type player which the team may not feel the need to secure. Also, Hector Sanchez could be sacrificed if Norris isn’t.
Options at Catcher
Since Norris is making just under $3 million, the young Austin Hedges is receiving quite a bit of consideration for the starting job. It seems illogical to pay a backup catcher $3 million, especially if he can’t reach the Mendoza line.
If the Padres decide to keep Norris, Sanchez may be out of luck. After all, San Diego won’t keep three catchers on the Major League roster. And since neither Sanchez or Norris will take a AAA assignment, one of them has to go.
A trade involving one or the other is another option. But what the Padres could actually get for either player is insignificant.
Still, one of the two ought to be tenured. The other probably won’t. Both are 27 years old, and have advantages and disadvantages. Certainly, Norris has the edge in experience, but has too high of a demand for a backup catcher.
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Still, on the other hand, the Padres want a solid backup to Hedges. They don’t want to put too much pressure on the youngster. Is this worth what Norris costs though? The debate intensifies.
As for Amarista, he will most likely be tenured. the 27-year-old will become a free agent at the end of 2017 anyway, so some argue that letting him go wouldn’t make a difference. However, what must be remembered about Amarista is his versatility. As a utility infielder, the Venezuelan is reliable, having the ability to fill in at third, second, or shortstop for any amount of time. Though he won’t be a long term solution at any of these positions, he is still extremely valuable for a developing team.
In the end, the most likely scenario will be the Padres securing nine of these ten players, leaving either Sanchez or Norris to the arbitration process. Whatever happens, the decisions made by A.J. Preller and the front office in the coming hours will be crucial to the future makeup of the roster. As always, Friars on Base will follow all of the action closely as it unfolds.