This leaves the Friars with lots of options this spring to explore filling the gaps they have in the outfield, infield, and behind the plate.
Barring a Paddack-like performance this March, I doubt any of these players will break camp with the team. But baseball is a fickle and unpredictable game and any of them could find themselves playing with the Padres early, mid or late season.
My best guess is that Jurickson Profar will perform well enough this spring to stick at second base with a platoon being a possibility for one of the other options to shine. Having the ability to play a second or third position will help in this scenario. This gives Greg Garcia and Jake Cronenworth an edge, in my opinion. But a big bat speaks loudly and that could give Ty France an advantage.
As for the outfield, barring a trade of Wil Myers, there is only center field and the fourth/ fifth outfield options to consider. If Myers is traded then the competition opens up considerably unless another outfielder comes back in the trade (Mookie Betts?).
Franchy Cordero must stay healthy to have a chance to make this team. He has lots of talent but has lost a lot of time to injuries.
There is a rumor that Josh Naylor lost weight this offseason and, if true, that could go a long way towards improving his chances of nailing down a job. His bat shows promise but to play the outfield he has to be fit.
Trent Grisham is an interesting piece and an unknown to Padres fans. His offense first profile gives him an opportunity to capture a job for the Friars and watching his play this spring will be a focus of mine.
Manuel Margot has to stop wasting time and be the player he is capable of being or this will be the season he loses his job. This could happen this spring if any of these other guys seizes their opportunity and shines.
The catching position provides the biggest question. Will Austin Hedges find his swing? Can Francisco Mejia develop more defensive ability? Does Luis Torrens show more growth and develop into real competition for the other two?
The Padres depth chart gives a hint to the thinking of the Padres organization. Mejia has now assumed the top spot over Hedges and Torrens is listed last. It appears the job is Mejia’s to lose.
I am particularly excited to watch how all this develops this spring. My yearly trip will be from March 1-7 and there will be a full report to follow.
How do you think the position battles will play out?