Did Mike Shildt leave door open for Xander Bogaerts position change with Padres?

It sure sounds like that Xander Bogaerts may move off of shortstop after all.

Sep 27, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Thairo Estrada
Sep 27, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Thairo Estrada / John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Diego Padres have a lineup that is essentially full of shortstops. They've made things work by moving guys around the field and, thus far, that strategy has worked out mostly well. Fernando Tatis Jr. became a Platinum Glove outfielder, Ha-Seong Kim just turned in an excellent season at second base, while Jake Cronenworth had a season to forget after moving to first base (but he was solid defensively).

The biggest issue has been that Xander Bogaerts wanted to stay at shortstop ever since he signed his 11-year deal with the Pads. Given the level of investment the Padres have in Bogaerts, they obliged and shuffled things around to accommodate him. Well, after a 2023 season where he slightly underperformed at the plate and the Padres potentially needing to make some changes, Bogaerts could be looking at a position change if manager Mike Shildt's comments are any indication.

Moving Xander Bogaerts to a different position is certainly on the table for Padres

To be fair to Shildt, he didn't commit to making a change with Bogaerts. However, when he was asked where Bogaerts would be playing in 2024, remarking that it was a good question and saying that he is still the Padres' shortstop "right now" isn't exactly locking him in. Right now, it just seems like Shildt is keeping all options on the table.

This discussion isn't new. The Padres are certainly used to playing guys out of position and there have previously been flirtations with moving Bogaerts around to figure out the best mix for everyone in the lineup. There are definitely benefits to having a bunch of guys that can field premium defensive positions, but the obvious downside is what feels like unnecessary mixing and matching.

One other weird part of this is that while Bogaerts didn't light the world on fire at the plate (he was still solid), he was pretty good in the field. He had three Outs Above Average in 2023, although Fangraphs' Defensive Runs Saved stat liked him less (-4 DRS for the season).

It's possible Shildt is trying to find a way to get Cronenworth off of first base and/or planning to ease Manny Machado back into the field because he just had surgery. There are a lot of moving parts here and there's still a chance that the Padres could make more moves ahead of the start of spring training that could change things altogether, so stay tuned.

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