Jake Cronenworth (ETA: 2020)
Acquired as part of the Tommy Pham trade package with the Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Cronenworth was a standout, two-way player at the University of Michigan. He worked his way through the Rays’ farm system since being assigned to Single-A Bowling Green to start the 2016 season. Last year, he played 94 games for Triple-A Durham, slashing .334/.429/.520 while also making seven appearances out of the bullpen.
He struck out nine batters in 7.1 innings but also allowed eight walks. The Padres have made it clear that they don’t plan on utilizing him as a relief pitcher. Last year, Cronenworth hit both righties and lefties well and primarily led off, posting an .882 OPS from that spot in the order. Like Arias, he was terrific with RISP, accumulating a .325 average and driving in 37 runs in such scenarios.
And while shortstop is his natural position, that’s not going to be an option for him on the Padres’ roster. He’s logged the second-most innings at second base, which would seem to make the most sense to plug-in given the uncertainty at the position.
If and when the season does begin, expect Cronenworth to crack the roster at second base, but he’s a solid insurance policy should Tatis struggle to remain healthy again.
Also of note, the Padres signed Reginald Preciado last July as an international free agent. He was a highly-touted prospect out of Panama and is expected to be ready in 2024.