Now that the San Diego Padres know they won’t be signing Shogo Akiyama, we look at where they go from here for center field help.
It was reported Saturday night that the Cincinnati Reds and Padres both had three-year offers on the table for Akiyama.
But unfortunately the Reds had the better offer and it’s now been reported that Akiyama has chosen the Reds.
Akiyama was probably the best center field free-agent option available this offseason, but he comes with a list of question marks not knowing how his skills will translate to Major League Baseball.
So where does San Diego go from here if they still hope to upgrade center field this offseason?
Kevin Pillar is probably the next best option out there and was non-tendered by the San Francisco Giants earlier this offseason.
Having said that, I wouldn’t hate the idea of bringing in Pillar who plays exceptional defense. But his career .298 OBP would not fly with what the Padres are trying to do.
As far as trade targets go, I’ve written several times this offseason how I love Starling Marte. However, I don’t love him as a center fielder where he’s a below-average defender.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is available but I don’t see him as much of an upgrade, if at all, over the current internal options.
I don’t think Mookie Betts will be traded, nor do I think it would be wise for the Padres to give up the prospect haul it would take to get him unless they negotiate an extension as part of the trade.
I think a lot of us, especially me, would love to see Franchy stay healthy and take over that job. But you can’t go into a season banking on that to happen.
Grisham isn’t really a center fielder, and I’m not high on him and actually hated that trade.
And Margot is a solid fourth outfielder.
Edward Olivares is on the 40-man roster and has experience in center, but he profiles more as a corner outfielder.
The Padres best outfield prospect, Taylor Trammell, has a chance to be a center fielder in the big leagues and could make his debut in 2020.
Personally, I think Margot gets moved this offseason and the Padres bring in someone like Pillar on a cheap deal to compete for the center field job while they wait/hope Trammell progresses in the minors to start 2020.