San Diego Padres: Top options at catcher if Austin Hedges is traded

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13: Manuel Margot #7 of the San Diego Padres scores ahead of the throw to Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at PETCO Park on July 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13: Manuel Margot #7 of the San Diego Padres scores ahead of the throw to Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at PETCO Park on July 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

We take a look at how the catcher position could play out if the San Diego Padres trade away Austin Hedges this offseason.

Let’s consider for a moment that AJ Preller agrees with me that the San Diego Padres roster has to be stronger at the catcher position.

Could he trade both Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia, get a veteran short-term solution at the position and use Luis Torrens as the back up until Luis Campusano reaches his major league readiness?

This is a question that we at Friars On Base though might be worth discussing.

Here’s the thought process for your consideration.

Last weekend I wrote about my disappointment in the current catching tandem for the Padres. Assuming for the time being that the ownership group is truly pressuring Preller to win now, the two catchers currently slated for the 2020 season don’t measure up.

Related Story. Catching equation for 2020 and beyond. light

Hedges and Mejia have both been prized prospects in the past and both hold value but neither appears to be able to supply all the skills needed for a contending team.

Padres prospect Luis Campusano is on the rise but will need one to two more seasons before the organization knows what they can reasonably expect from him.

Hedges would be a fine backup catcher for a team in development, someone to work with their pitchers and help develop them on the field and in practice.

Mejia doesn’t seem to be gaining enough skill on the defensive side of the ball to be even a quality back up unless the team wants him just for his bat.

Either one could find a home elsewhere as long as Preller isn’t asking too much in return.

So who would catch for the San Diego Padres?

Luis Torrens, acquired by the Padres in the 2016 Rule V draft, is still only 23 years of age and has shown some impressive progress behind the plate.

He still needs some development both as a hitter and as a catcher but looked so much better defensively at the end of 2019.

There are still free agent options left for Preller to pursue if he can swing a deal that fits financially.

Robinson Chirinos is 35 years old but still has a good offensive metric and posted a 3.8 WAR in 2019.

Jason Castro is 32 years old and excels defensively but has pulled his offense up and could be a good fit for the next couple of seasons.

Francisco Cervelli is 33 years old and had an injury marred 2019. He was released in August but if he is now healthy. He could be an inexpensive option that provides quality.

Of course the big fish would be a trade for Cubs standout Wilson Contreras. The asking price so far has been extravagant according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Barring a miraculous agreement with the Cubs, there are many quality catchers that could be available at the right price.

The Padres have a stocked farm system that was built partly for this reason. Acquiring quality talent from other teams in need of prospects to build their organizations.

Next. The 2020 Season. dark

If you look at the top 30 Padres prospects you can see a backlog of talent that can’t possibly all play for the major league team. Outside of Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patino as untouchables, many of these pieces are coveted by other teams and my hope is that AJ Preller will use those to land some much needed help for the 2020 roster before spring training begins in 58 days.

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