Who is the catcher for San Diego Padres in 2020 and beyond?

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 26: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres fields an infield single hit by Tyler Austin #19 of the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning of a game at PETCO Park on July 26, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 26: Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres fields an infield single hit by Tyler Austin #19 of the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning of a game at PETCO Park on July 26, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Francisco Mejia #27 of the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Francisco Mejia #27 of the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

What about 2020?

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After watching Mejia catch over the past season it is doubtful if that progress can occur quickly enough to enable the Padres to become the contenders they claim to aspire to be in 2020.

I found myself wanting to throw things at the TV as he allowed so many passed balls that Hedges would have obviously handled easily.

And his stabbing at pitches while receiving led to many strikes being call balls by the umpires, the exact opposite of the effect Hedges has on framing.

It can’t make the pitchers happy when they locate a pitch on the outer part of the plate only to see it called a ball because Mejia carries the ball off the plate with his catching motion.

Catching isn’t easy. It is arguably the most difficult position to play in baseball. But if the Padres claim to want to contend starting in 2020 it is one of the most important positions on the roster, without a doubt.

So are the Padres really content to go into 2020 with the Mejia/Hedges combo?

My suspicion is that the only reason we are still dealing with this issue is that the Padres have been unable to make an upgrade.

Talks of a trade with the Cubs for Willson Contreras have circulated for a while with the bottom line rumored to be too high a price in Padres’ prospects

If the Padres are stuck with Hedges and Mejia for 2020, what can we expect?

Other than the black hole in the lineup when Hedges catches, Mejia’s offense hopefully contributes to some wins. But will his defense cost the Padres some games?

Especially if we see top prospect Mackenzie Gore make his debut in 2020, a strong catching performance is especially needed when the rotation has a tendency toward young, inexperienced pitchers (Lamet, Paddack, Lucchesi).

If the Pads are serious about contending in 2020 they will need a solution to the catching problem.

My argument is that a short-term solution is all that is needed as the Padres have a prospect in the minors who is the top catching prospect in the Padres system. He will be playing Double-A ball in 2020 with a projected arrival to  MLB in 2021.

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