Padres might be stuck with Trent Grisham in CF amid poor FA class

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 12: Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 12: Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres don’t have many offensive holes in their roster, but center field has been one spot where they haven’t seen great production. Trent Grisham appeared to be a solid offensive player in his first two years with the club, but he fell off hard in 2022.

Grisham may have slugged 17 home runs, but a .183 batting average and 83 OPS+ relegated him to the bottom of the batting order. After tearing the cover off the ball early in the playoffs against the Mets and the Dodgers, Grisham was invisible against the Phillies in the NLCS.

Grisham has a solid power stroke, and no one is doubting his ability to reel off web gems at the major league level, but he was in such a deep funk that it calls into question his long-term potential. With some big decisions to make this offseason. A.J. Preller needs to figure out if Grisham can be a player who sticks around,

If the Padres want to make a significant offensive upgrade at some point in the offseason, going after center field upgrades might make sense. However, San Diego might not be able to cleanly swap No. 2 out of the lineup for someone with more potential due to the lack of great options on the open market.

Will the San Diego Padres keep Trent Grisham?

The best option on the market might be Tampa Bay Rays defensive ace Kevin Kiermaier, who has struggled with injuries and even worse offensive production than Grisham in the last few seasons. Perhaps you’d like Jackie Bradley Jr. or Kevin Pillar? Nope? Didn’t think so.

Grisham’s defense is the only thing that could secure a starting spot for him in 2023. Having already won a Gold Glove in 2020 and being nominated for one alongside teammate Juan Soto, Grisham’s range in the outfield might help the Padres rationalize starting someone who gets three hits every 16 at-bats.

It stinks that Grisham’s last plate appearance for the Padres this season was a bunt that preceded their elimination from the NLCS, but it may have also been a sign that Bob Melvin did not trust Grisham and his bat to come through in that scenario.

Barring a big change via trade, Grisham is likely going to return as the starting center fielder in 2023. We’ve seen him be a solid offensive player in the past, but his disappointing 2022 season was so alarming that it calls his long-term potential into question.