San Diego Padres: Time For A Jose Pirela Break

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 21: Freddy Galvis #13 of the San Diego Padres tosses the ball to Jose Pirela #2 of the San Diego Padres to turn a double play against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at AT&T Park on June 21, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 21: Freddy Galvis #13 of the San Diego Padres tosses the ball to Jose Pirela #2 of the San Diego Padres to turn a double play against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at AT&T Park on June 21, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres have won just five of their last nineteen games. The primary culprit in a majority of the losses has been their inept offense. During the losing streak, Padres’ second baseman Jose Pirela has been less than stellar at the plate and could greatly benefit from some time off.

In 345 plate appearances thus far, San Diego Padres second baseman Jose Pirela is slashing .260/.310/.348 with a .658 OPS. In June, the numbers went down by a notch, with a final June slash line of .231/.250/.330. We’re less than a week into July, however,  he has only mustered one hit in seven at-bats, giving way to recently promoted Carlos Asuaje for two games.

These numbers are down, even by Pirela’s own standards. Last season, after 344 plate appearances, Pirela was hitting .288/.347/.490 with .837 OPS. He had 10 round-trippers and 40 runs-batted-in. This year, he has only homered twice and has 25 RBIs in 319 at-bats.

Pirela’s launch angle is down from an average of 5.9 degrees, to 4.9 degrees, leading to a jump in his ground ball rate to nearly 55%. His wRC+ of 84 is well below the league average of 100. A couple of other concerning statistics to note are the high number of double plays he has grounded into (7) and his extremely questionable base running.

Jose Pirela’s power has always been in question and when a batter’s ISO (isolated power) reads .088 (2018), .202 (2017),  .051 (2016), .081 (2015 with the Yankees), that is some unwanted consistency.

All of the above suggest that Pirela has been consistently average with the bat and tends to be more bad than good for the up-and-coming San Diego Padres’ young lineup. At this point in the season, he is only blocking the path of a young prospect like Luis Urias, who will be ready for the big leagues very, very soon.

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Can San Diego Padres find trade value for Jose Pirela?

Andy Green and the Padres will be better served by trading Pirela. Pirela can play multiple positions and will add depth to a playoff contender. A change of scenery and a hitter-friendly park may provide a late-season spark for Pirela. But what can the Padres potentially get for Jose Pirela? If the team believes Urias is ready, shopping Pirela around for a young reliever doesn’t sound like a bad idea, especially if the team also fields offers for Craig Stammen and/or Kirby Yates. Only time will tell if the Padres will indeed be able to find suitors for Pirela.

Thankfully for the Padres, Carlos Asuaje seems to have found a positive rhythm and should see increased playing time, at least against right-handed pitching. Asuaje is 5-for-7, with a triple and four walks since coming back from Triple-A El Paso.

Next: Padres And Diamondbacks Face Off In Arizona

The Padres return to action on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm.

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