Padres News: 2 players signed to MiLB deals, Fernando Tatis Jr. position switch?

Could Fernando Tatis Jr. switch positions again?
San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr.
San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have been relatively quiet this offseason. Of course there was the blockbuster trade that sent Juan Soto to the New York Yankees, but in terms of additions, Padres fans haven't seen too many this winter.

That appears to have changed, however, after the Padres signed two veterans this week. FanSided's Robert Murray is reporting that both catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Óscar Mercado have agreed to minor-league contracts with the Friars. Both are expected to be invited to spring training.

In addition to seeing two new faces in Peoria next month, Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required), wrote that the Padres have not ruled out the possibility of moving Fernando Tatis Jr. to a new position.

Padres news: Kevin Plawecki and Oscar Mercado signed to MiLB deals

Kevin Plawecki did not play in the major leagues last season. A former first-round draft pick of the New York Mets back in 2012, Plawecki spent all of last season bouncing around the minor leagues. The 32-year-old was part of three different organizations last season, including the Padres, and posted a collective-OPS of .739 in 67 games.

Óscar Mercado appeared in just 20 games at the major league level in 2023 while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The five-year veteran had his best season during his rookie year with the Cleveland Guardians. Mercado hit .269/.316/.443 for Cleveland that season and was the Guardians' primary centerfielder.

Since then, Mercado has seen time with the Guardians, Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies while hitting just .224 as a utility outfielder. Mercado was part of the Padres' Triple-A affiliate last season and posted an OPS of 1.068 in 30 games with the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. switching positions again?

After coming up through the minors and spending the first several years of his major league career at shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr. made the switch to right field last season. The San Diego Padres infield was overloaded with talent after signing Xander Bogaerts to a free agent contract last winter, so somebody had to move.

Tatis made the jump to the outfield grass and won a Gold Glove in the process. While his hitting lagged behind, following his 80-game suspension for a banned substance, Tatis' defense in the outfield was stellar.

The Padres still need to make some additions this offseason, and with so few legitimate centerfielders available in free agency, perhaps the most logical move for San Diego could be to push Tatis one spot to his right.

A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres front office could then intensify their efforts to find a corner outfielder in free agency. Players like Teoscar Hernandez and Cody Bellinger are probably outside the price range of what the Padres are willing to spend, but perhaps Eddie Rosario, Randal Grichuk, or David Peralta could find a home in San Diego.