San Diego Padres: What Happens with First Baseman Josh Naylor?

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Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World batter Josh Naylor hits a RBI single in the 6th inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World batter Josh Naylor hits a RBI single in the 6th inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The San Diego Padres could have a traffic jam at the first base position in the near future. If this is the case, what will the organization decide to do with prospect Josh Naylor?

Now that first baseman Wil Myers has signed a six-year, $80 million contract extension, the San Diego Padres can breathe easy, as the first base position is the least of their worries.

But at the same time, the organization must realize that they will have a decision to make in the near future. When first baseman Josh Naylor is major league ready, what will the team do?

Naylor is only 19 years old, and could be as many as three full seasons away from giving the Padres this dilemma. That is why this is not intended to second guess the extension of Myers in any way. San Diego undoubtedly desperately needed some sort of stability on the 2017 roster.

But before the organization runs into the problem of Myers interfering with Naylor’s development, it is important to think this through. After all, the 19-year-old is cruising through the minor leagues thus far, finishing the 2016 season in high-A Lake Elsinore.

At 225 pounds, the first baseman has a lot of pop in his bat. However, with only 13 career home runs in 579 at bats, it seems Naylor hasn’t put it all together quite yet. For the Padres, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the uncertainty of their top prospect at first base makes matters more difficult for the organization in planning for the long term.

If Naylor’s development speeds up and he is ready for the majors in 2018 or 2019, the Padres will have three options. They could explore a possible trade, move Myers, or keep Naylor on the bench for the time being.

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The Myers contract makes a position change for Myers very unlikely. And since Naylor is not natural at any other position, a similar transformation for the Canadian would be quite a stretch.

What seems more likely is a trade. The timing of this depends, as Naylor’s development is still in the early stages. On the team’s list of top 30 prospects, Naylor ranks fourth. This is promising, but the Padres will likely wait to see how everything pans out for the youngster.

Regardless of what happens with Naylor, he currently serves as a safety net at first base in the minor leagues behind the established Myers. His potential serves as an asset to the organization, even if Myers stands in the way of his development.

Next: Revisiting the Wil Myers Trade

Trading Naylor could provide the Padres with some more pitching depth, which could work in their favor once they contend, ideally in 2019. But for now, San Diego is in wait and see mode with Naylor. And while he does make decisions more difficult at the first base position, too much potential at the position sure beats not enough.

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