Luis Arráez's defensive request could force Padres to change course

Will Luis Arráez's presence in San Diego mean the end of another infielder's tenure with the Padres?
San Diego Padres infielder Luis Arraez
San Diego Padres infielder Luis Arraez / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

It's not even July and the San Diego Padres have been involved in three blockbuster trades since the end of last season. Juan Soto was traded to the New York Yankees, Dylan Cease landed in San Diego after a preseason deal with the Chicago White Sox, and two-time batting champion Luis Arráez was dealt from the Miami Marlins to the Padres a few weeks ago.

Losing Soto was a difficult pill to swallow for Pads fans, but Arráez's arrival from South Beach seems to have reignited the San Diego fanbase, and it's definitely sparked the Padres clubhouse. Arráez is well liked by his teammates, and having already drawn comparisons — unfair as they might be — to Tony Gwynn, the Friar faithful have welcomed the All-Star with open arms.

While looking too far into the future is always a dangerous road to go down, the fact that Arráez is under team control through 2025 already has fans and experts contemplating a long-term extension. But that may come with a cost, and Arráez's most recent request may give Pads fans a clue to what the front office may do in the coming months.

Luis Arráez's defensive request could force Padres to change course

Arráez has been getting more reps in the field recently. The absence of Xander Boagerts has necessitated that Arráez shed the moniker of designated hitter and take over in the infield. Arráez is most comfortable at second base, but he can play first base as well.

Recently, Arráez spoke about getting increased playing time on the infield dirt with Bogaerts on the IL. "I don’t like DH," Arráez said. “I fall asleep when I’m DHing. I need to move around. I want to play defense. Sometimes, I don’t want to play first, but I know they need me there. I love second base, everyone knows that."

If the Padres intend to fulfill Arráez's request, and if AJ Preller and the San Diego front office plan to offer the 27-year-old a contract extension this season or during the winter, then the Friar faithful should say their goodbyes to Ha-Seong Kim.

Keeping Luis Arráez likely means the Padres would lose Ha-Seong Kim

Sad as that may sound, Pads fans, that's the reality. Keeping Arráez, which should be a priority for the Padres, would mean saying goodbye to Kim. It also means that Bogaerts would likely return to shortstop.

No team is going to take on Bogaerts' contract, so the Friars are stuck with that. Perhaps San Diego would look to move Jake Cronenworth in the offseason and have Arráez play first base with Bogaerts at the keystone.

There are a lot of different ways to mix and match this puzzle in order to get Arráez into the lineup and onto the field. But this is probably the only season in which Arráez, Bogaerts, Cronenworth, and Kim will all be part of the same roster.

Kim has an opt out in the contract after this season, and it's very likely that he'll exercise it. That will force the Padres' hand, and it's likely he'll be looking for a big payday.

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