The San Diego Padres can’t keep all of their outfielders on the major league roster. Who deserves to stay and who should be let go?
The San Diego Padres have an extreme log-jam piling up in their outfield. The recent call-up of Franmil Reyes means that Reyes joins Manuel Margot, Travis Jankowski, Franchy Cordero, Matt Szczur, Wil Myers, and Hunter Renfroe. We have already featured the call-up of Reyes and opportunities this presents, now, let’s answer the question: who stays and who goes?
Most fans agree that Matt Szczur will go. He’s out of options, so he can’t be sent to El Paso, but he does provide enough tools to attract a possibles suitor. If Szczur were to be designated for assignment, the Padres will have a few days to work out a trade. There is sure to be a team out there willing to give up a AAAA relief-type pitcher the Padres can stash away for when the bullpen goes through taxing spells.
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Wil Myers is the only guarantee among the seven. There are legitimate questions surrounding his ability to stay healthy this season (two DL stints already), but he’s a franchise-type player when he’s at full-strength. With Eric Hosmer manning first base for years to come, Wil Myers has his outfield slot secured, assumingly, at right field.
Who should be the captain of this outfield? Manuel Margot. There’s a growing belief that Margot should spend some time in El Paso to simply work on his swing. Baseball is a mental game, and Margot has been extremely unlucky this season. His BABIP is .247, but his hard-contact rate is up to 33%, compared to 25% last season. This means that his hits will start falling eventually; they have to.
Spending a few weeks in AAA is a valid belief, however, Margot seems to be finding his groove, and the Padres need his elite defense in the outfield. Cordero He’s recorded eight hits over his last seven games, including two doubles. Let Margot play it out. The man did get drilled in his ribcage at the beginning of the season.
The San Diego Padres have a problem but at least it’s a good one.
That leaves just one spot open: left field. Andy Green cannot take Franchy Cordero out of this lineup. Cordero is quickly developing into an all-around solid hitter who knows how to take a pitch. He’s shown the ability to turn an 0-2 count into a walk a few times over the last few weeks. That’s a dangerous Franchy Cordero.
Cordero is hitting .271 with a .350 OBP through 107 at-bats. Over his last 15 games, Cordero has 10 walks, compared to 18 strikeouts with three stolen bases. He’s creating and driving in runs with his ability to quickly change a game. Taking one of the most electric hitters out of a lineup that struggles to do small things (can anyone bunt?) is out of the question.
Now the question becomes, who has more trade value on the market? There’s Travis Jankowski, who is proving to be a valuable lead-off commodity for the Padres, as well as Hunter Renfroe, who has the ability to develop into a monster power threat.
Jankowski is the perfect fourth-outfielder option. He can be a late game, defensive substitution for Myers in a close game, or come in as a pinch-runner in the same situation. Jankowski can be a game-changer in late-game situations, and Andy Green wouldn’t have to sacrifice a bat since Jankowski has shown he can more than handle major league pitching.
To recap, Myers, Margot, and Cordero become the starting outfield for the San Diego Padres, with Jankowski as the fourth option. Matt Szczur and Hunter Renfroe become trade bait and Franmil Reyes ends up back in El Paso. What he accomplished in El Paso was amazing to watch, however, the ball flies in El Paso and deeper scouting reports aren’t as high on Reyes as many fans are. He will have to quickly prove his value to the big league ball club.
This is all predicated on everyone remaining healthy. Renfroe should begin a rehab assignment very soon while Myers is out for a few more weeks, at least. These two setbacks give the Padres time evaluate Jankowski, Reyes, and everyone else, however, decisions will need to made eventually.
How do you set this lineup? Let us know in the comments below!