San Diego Padres: Curse at Shortstop Continues
The San Diego Padres have long gone without consistency at the shortstop position. In 2017, this doesn’t look to be any different.
With the beginning of the season bearing down, the Padres have just admitted that another shortstop of the future won’t cut it. Luis Sardinas, handed the job toward the end of last season, will now become a utility player. Non-roster invitee Erick Aybar has the best shot at becoming the opening day starter at this vital position.
Aybar played for almost a decade for the Angels and became a fan favorite, but his tenure ended with the trade for Andrelton Simmons. In 2011 he received a Gold Glove award. However, as happens when players age, he has shown diminished skills in the field and at the plate. On the plus side, he’s been an asset as a mentor to the young players on the team during spring training.
Obviously, Aybar will not be the long-term solution, but evaluators like Scott Strandberg recently questioned (on Fangraphs) whether he’s even up for the job this year.
“Erick Aybar was atrocious in 2016. At 33 years old, he’s not as quick as he used to be, which turned him from a solid defender into a mediocre option, and also ended his base-stealing days.
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San Diego signed him, even though Aybar no longer has any pop in his bat, or pep in his step. For two straight seasons, he’s been a below-average player both offensively and defensively. That’s probably not changing.”
MLB abounds with exciting, young, talented players at this premium position, including Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and, dare we mention, Trea Turner. San Diego’s depth chart at short lists only Allen Cordoba, a Rule-5 draftee, and Jose Rondon (.120/.154/.274 in eight games last year). In the meantime, Javier Guerra (part of the haul from the trade of Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox) has fallen off the map thanks to his lousy attitude and less than stellar performance.
Next: Position Battles Come Into Focus
Padres’ fans are left to wonder when the team’s curse at shortstop, which defies logic, will ever end.