San Diego Padres: Three best position battles to watch in Spring Training

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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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San Diego Padres, Franchy Cordero
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Clarity is needed after the departure of Manuel Margot.

What Manuel Margot lacked at the plate, he more than made up for it in the field. The 25-year-old logged a .992 fielding percentage in center field last year but hit just .234 in 151 games. He was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Emilio Pagan earlier this month, which leaves the Padres trying to make sense of what’s left at the position.

As part of the Urias and Lauer deal, the Padres acquired Trent Grisham, but he posted a .231/.328/.410 line with six home runs and 24 RBI in 51 games at the big league level a year ago. In the minors, he recorded a 1.010 OPS with 26 home runs and 71 RBI in 97 games, but it remains uncertain if that will translate to the big leagues in his first full season.

Franchy Cordero, to this point, maybe the biggest “what if” case as he’s played extraordinarily well at every stop of the minors but has a .240/.306/.431 line with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 79 big league games. His defense in center, again to this point, has been questionable at best with a .957 fielding percentage in 41 games.

The Padres have recently been linked to trade rumors that could potentially acquire Nick Senzel from the Cincinnati Reds, and he posted decent numbers in his first season in 2019. He is projected to have a much higher ceiling than Cordero – and potentially Grisham – so I understand the appeal.

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We’ll see how things play out in Spring Training, and the catching situation is another position to monitor; however, there is a severe lack of talent at the backstop with only a trade likely providing support until Luis Campusano is ready.