San Diego Padres: Finally a real opportunity for Carlos Asuaje

Jun 23, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Carlos Asuaje at bat during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Carlos Asuaje at bat during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Diego Padres are finally going to catch a glimpse of one of their bright young infielders, Carlos Asuaje, as long as Andy Green is smart enough to put him in the lineup.

Yangervis Solarte has now officially joined the ranks of the injured. On the surface, of course this isn’t a positive for the San Diego Padres. Solarte is one of their top infielders and veteran leaders. But in reality, getting a bit of a break from the 29-year-old may be a blessing in disguise of sorts.

As a result of the second baseman’s absence, the Padres need to find a way to fill the void in the middle of the infield for the two week period or so they will be without Solarte. It appears, based on their roster composition and past reaction to similar circumstances, they will play the second base position by committee.

This means that playing time at the position will be shared among several or more utility players or minor leaguers who can play second. In this case, the Padres are fortunate to have many differernt options, including Cory Spangenberg, Jose Pirela, Chase d’Arnaud, and Carlos Asuaje.

There are, however, issues with forcing Spangenberg, Pirela, or d’Arnaud into this role on a consistent basis. Spangenberg began the season as a second baseman and battled fiercely for a starting job at the position this spring. Of course, the Padres ended up changing up their entire infield and moving him to third. So now, with Spangenberg starting at third and the adjustment seeming to have worked well, there’s no reason to panic and change everything back to the way it was because of one fairly minor injury.

Related Story: Top 3 San Diego Restaurants for Foodies

The same goes for Pirela. His success in the outfield has been part of what has stabilized San Diego with the absence of Manuel Margot, Travis Jankowski, and Alex Dickerson. Moving him to second when there are other options

The same is also true for d’Arnaud, even if it isn’t as obvious. Besides the fact that he currently sits on the paternity list, d’Arnaud was brought to the Padres as a super utility player who can fill in at third, short, or second. Putting him at second full time would put a lot of pressure on Erick Aybar at the shortstop position as well as Spangenberg at third. This doesn’t mean he can’t contribute by playing second at times, but keeping d’Arnaud as a true utility player is the best move.

More from Friars on Base

Which leaves Asuaje, the 25-year-old with 43 career plate appearances. Yes, it may sound radical and self-destructive to push for Asuaje to start, but it gives the youngster experience which is valuable long term. Asuaje has spent parts of five seasons in the minor leagues, and still is stuck somewhere between El Paso and San Diego.

Giving him a week or two to start at his natural position would be revealing as far as where Asuaje will fit in long term. If he impresses, the Padres can ask themselves whether or not a Solarte move back to third and/or a Spangenberg trade would be an option. There is a ton to work out over the next couple of seasons as this rebuilding process intensifies, and Asuaje is one major unknown that both management and fans are itching to find out more about.

Next: The unfortunate legacy of Matt Kemp

The way baseball teams handle injuries varies based on what kind of team they are. Are the Padres a young, rebuilding team, with priorities besides winning this season? Absolutely. Due to this, playing Carlos Asuaje when they might not otherwise would be the smartest move going forward. Fans are excited to see what the young player has and how he can contribute to the long term solution in San Diego.