3 non-roster invitees who could steal Opening Day roster spots for the Padres

Will Padres fans see some roster shakeups when the team leaves Arizona?

Cleveland Guardians left fielder Oscar Mercado (35) catches a fly ball
Cleveland Guardians left fielder Oscar Mercado (35) catches a fly ball / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Óscar Mercado, OF

At the moment, the San Diego Padres have just three outfielders on the 40-man roster. Jose Azocar, Fernando Tatis Jr., and the newly signed Jurickson Profar. That's not enough. Unless the Padres make some more moves before Opening Day, they'll have to find another outfielder or two to join that trio before the Friars leave Peoria.

Óscar Mercado has plenty of major league experience. The outfielder played 20 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2023 and hit .290/.313/.387. While those numbers aren't bad, it doesn't really tell the whole story.

Mercado hasn't had much to write home about since his rookie season in 2019 with Cleveland. That year, in 115 games, the then-24-year-old Mercado hit .269/.318/.443 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI. While it would have been unfair to call Mercado a cornerstone for Cleveland after that rookie campaign, the Guardians certainly thought they had something to build around.

Unfortunately, it's been a downhill slide for Mercado ever since. Since his rookie season, Mercado has posted a .596 OPS and played for three different franchises. But, at this point, the Padres cannot be picky when it comes to finding a fourth outfielder to play alongside Tatis, Azocar, and Profar.

Mercado has a good shot to land on the Padres' Opening Day roster. He can play all three outfield spots, but is probably best suited to play left field. Mercado is worth 12 defensive runs saved (DRS), for his career, according to FanGraphs. Even if his bat doesn't play, Mercado could work as a defensive replacement.