Wil Myers is coming off his worst season, offensively, since 2014, and the San Diego Padres will be expecting more from their star outfielder.
As Wil Myers prepares for his sixth year in a San Diego Padres uniform, he was greeted with trade speculation as he reported to camp this week. The former third-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in the 2009 MLB Draft exploded onto the scene in 2013 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, posting a .831 OPS that ultimately led him to being named American League Rookie of the Year.
The Padres acquired him during the 2014 offseason, and he earned his first All-Star selection in the 2016 season. That offseason, the Padres’ front office rewarded him with a six-year, $83 million extension, but has underperformed since signing his lucrative deal. Last season was Myers’ first as a regular in the outfield.
He’s been utilized all over the field, but primarily played in both left and center field last year. Now 29-years-old, Myers’ 2019 was arguably his worst since 2014, posting a .239/.321/.418 line with 18 home runs, and 53 RBI despite playing in 155 games.
He spoke with the media on Saturday regarding the trade speculation and indicated that he’s become accustomed to hearing the rumors and has learned how to manage it:
"“I’ve been traded twice and been in trade speculation for a long time. I’ve figured out how to deal with it. It is what it is. I have no hard feelings toward anybody. I’m very happy to be here.”"
The Padres will need a bounceback year from Myers both at the plate and in the field with the latter likely resolving itself organically. His .979 fielding percentage was heavily swayed by his poor defensive play in the center field – .976 fielding percentage in 66 games – but he’s expected to be the everyday right fielder where he has a career .985 fielding percentage.
Earlier this offseason, the Padres parted with Manuel Margot, perhaps too soon, as the 25-year-old logged a .992 in center field, but his offense took a dip in 2019. I understand the appeal for acquiring bullpen help in the form of Emilio Pagan, but center field is now a huge question mark going into the season.
I am getting off track here, but a return to somewhat normalized numbers will be critical for both Myers and the Padres if they have aspirations of postseason baseball in 2020.