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.
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.
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.
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.
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.