San Diego Padres Have to Choose a Path for Jose Pirela

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SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 29: Jose Pirela #2 of the San Diego Padres hits a single during the fourth inning on Opening Day against the Milwaukee Brewers at PETCO Park on March 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 29: Jose Pirela #2 of the San Diego Padres hits a single during the fourth inning on Opening Day against the Milwaukee Brewers at PETCO Park on March 29, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres are in a tough spot. A player who was a key cog over the first few weeks of the season has fallen into an awful funk. They have other options, but when do they make a change?

Ultimately, the San Diego Padres would like to see Jose Pirela navigate his own course when it comes to finding his role on this year’s team. After an incredibly hot start, Pirela has cooled off considerably, leaving the Friars with a hefty decision to make.

Pirela, 28, was originally given the bulk of the playing time in left field to begin the season. While playing a more-than-capable outfield, as well as owning a .324/.351/.473 slash line on April 15, Pirela showed exactly how valuable of a player he can be to this team.

With his seven doubles, two triples, and ten runs batted in over that span, as well as just 15 strikeouts in 74 at-bats, there were plenty of bright spots to point to as proof that Pirela belonged in the lineup every day.

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San Diego Padres put a lot of faith in Pirela, and for a while, he delivered

When Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe switched places on the disabled list, and Franchy Cordero returned to the Padres’ lineup, Andy Green gave Pirela a look at second, giving the overwhelmed-looking Asuaje a breather.

Carlos Asuaje had his chance to lock down his spot at second base but hasn’t quite shown the consistency at the plate that’s necessary to succeed and keep his spot secure.

Since April 15, Jose Pirela has gone a combined 11-for-66 (.167) with a .433 OPS. All players fall into slumps, but this prolonged dip in productivity is extremely alarming.

Jose Pirela has fallen back down to Earth…hard

Hopefully, any bad habits that Pirela has fallen into over the last three weeks will be rectified in short order. But with infielder Luis Urias practically kicking the door down in El Paso waiting to make his MLB debut, Pirela’s consistent playing time may be short-lived.

Urias, 20, is currently hitting .305/.431/.463 in 95 at-bats with El Paso. He’s got six doubles, three home runs, nine runs batted in, and nineteen walks.

As we’ve said here before, Urias is the quintessential leadoff hitter. Even with Travis Jankowski‘s outstanding performance out of the top spot in the batting order as of late (which could doom Pirela’s use even further), Urias atop the Padres lineup could provide another much-needed spark.

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Andy Green and AJ Preller most certainly have their hands full with this call. Regardless of the levity of the situation, we as fans must have faith that the San Diego Padres’ front office will make the right decision.

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