5 questions facing the Padres as spring training approaches

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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Who's the Padres' starting center fielder?

Currently, the Padres have only two outfielders (Jose Azocar and Fernando Tatis Jr.) on the 40-man roster, and neither player has extensive time patrolling center field in the majors. So, how long will the front office wait before signing a proven option?

You get the feeling that Padres president of baseball operations and general manager AJ Preller is less than enthusiastic about what is available in the marketplace. But someone will get the job by default. Unfortunately, no one has a clue on that name yet.

The Friar Faithful could see the debut of Jakob Marsee or Jackson Merrill, as each player is poised to contribute at the major league level in 2024. The Padres must refrain from rushing either player through their minor league system, however it may come down to solving a problem in the present by sacrificing their future.

Another option is trading for a serviceable center fielder, but the market is overflowing with corner outfielders. And since the Padres are toeing the fine line of contending/retooling, fans doubt they'd pay a high price for an All-Star level player should that become available. You never know, but the options are limited and trades become less and less likely as we get closer to Opening Day.