San Diego Padres: Forecasting Jose Pirela’s Role For Friars

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Jose Pirela
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Jose Pirela /

Jose Pirela was slated for a big role with the San Diego Padres this season. Since the addition of Eric Hosmer and the resulting move of Wil Myers from first-base to the outfield, Pirela’s role has become a little less well-defined.

Jose Pirela began his career with the New York Yankees before finally emerging last season with the San Diego Padres. Signed as a sixteen-year-old out of Valera, Venezuela, Pirela was originally projected to become a stud second-baseman.

The Yanks already had perennial All-Star Robinson Cano cemented in his place as the starting second-bagger, so they tried Pirela out at the corner-outfield positions. Once Cano had left for Seattle, Pirela began seeing his opportunity to shine getting closer on the horizon.

Jose Pirela was not producing as some in the New York front-office had hoped he would, still splitting time between the infield and the outfield.

Then, at the beginning of the 2015 offseason, just weeks after the Kansas City Royals won their first World Series (with our new friend Eric Hosmer manning first-base), the Yankees traded Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres in exchange for young pitcher (and also Venzuaelan) Ronald Herrera.

Jose Pirela, meet the San Diego Padres

Jose Pirela spent most of the 2016 season on the shelf with an injured Achilles’ tendon. In 35 games with the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A team, the El Paso Chihuahuas, Pirela was somewhat productive.

His slash line at Triple-A was .248/.295./387 while hitting 2 home runs and driving in 16. Obviously, the long layoff was partly to blame for Pirela’s slow-ish return back to game action. After the rosters were expanded in September 2016, Pirela performed even worse than he had in El Paso.

In 39 at-bats with the Friars in 2016, Pirela slashed .154/.175/.205. Maybe the San Diego Padres had made a mistake giving up a promising young hurler in Herrera for a player that seemed to be falling apart in Pirela. Then 2017 came along and things turned around for Jose Pirela.

Pirela breaks out for the San Diego Padres

After a solid showing in the not-as-talented but still pretty darn good Venezuelan Winter League, Pirela had an impressive slash line of .343/.409/.485. It was beginning to become clear that the Achilles injury that plagued Pirela through all of 2016 was looking to finally be behind him.

Last year for the San Diego Padres, Jose Pirela broke out in a very big way. In just over 300 at-bats (312) in 2017, Jose Pirela showed exactly why the New York Yankees tried so hard, for so long, to find him a position.

His slash line last year with the Friars (.288/.347/.490) eerily resembled the numbers he had just put up in the VWL only months before. Pirela hit 10 home runs, 25 doubles, and racked up 40 RBI in just 312 at-bats!

San Diego Padres shake things up

Last week the San Diego Padres made a move that the team and its fanbase had been waiting for the entire offseason; they signed free-agent first-baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal. That threw a bit of a monkey wrench into manager Andy Green‘s plans for Pirela.

Slated to compete for the starting left-field position and occasionally spell Carlos Asuaje at second-base (primarily against left-handed pitching), Jose Pirela now was a player without a position.

Bringing Hosmer in to play first-base now moves Wil Myers into, most likely, right-field and Hunter Renfroe, the formerly-projected starting right fielder, into left.

Unless a move is made to ship out one of the boatload of talented outfielders the Friars currently have, Jose Pirela is, in all likelihood, going to be pegged as a utility player for the San Diego Padres this season.

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Pirela will almost certainly have a spot on the Padres’ Opening Day 25-man roster considering that he can play both corner outfield positions well, and back-up at second-base,

He will need to show Andy Green that he can not only handle the role of utility bench-player but that he can thrive in the role and embrace the “help in any way I can” mantra that Green is surely preaching this year.