Padres' outfield search comes into focus with latest spring training roster cuts

2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training
2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres may be in the middle of the most interesting spring training camp in the entire league. Multiple roster spots on both sides of the ball have yet to be settled while most teams are just playing out the string this spring and getting players in game shape. If true roster competitions are what one is looking for in spring training, the Padres are where it's at.

Those competitions have been coming into focus as the team has made cuts over the last week or so. Several of the Padres young arms got sent over to minor league camp, which cleared up the rotation battle, but one area that has been decidedly unclear has been the competition for the Padres' two "open" outfield spots.

There has been a lot to unpack with the Padres' outfield. San Diego has clearly been flirting with the idea of adding another outfielder like Tommy Pham, which has led to some uncertainty, but it has been also unclear which players the Padres prefer out there, with Graham Pauley, Jackson Merrill, Jakob Marsee, Jose Azocar, and others all having cases.

Well, the latest round of spring roster cuts are in and one of those names is heading back over to minor league camp.

Padres trim down outfield competition, six players sent to minor league camp

In addition to Marsee, who is a fantastic defender in the outfield, San Diego sent Tim Locastro, who the Padres recently signed to a minor league deal, as well as other fringe outfield candidates back to minor league camp.

Marsee, Locastro, and Cal Mitchell should all be useful outfield depth if needed in 2024.

At the moment, Pauley appears more likely to see time at third base and designated hitter with Manny Machado still working his way back to playing in the field every day. With these cuts, it's sure looking more and more likely that Jackson Merrill is on the path to claiming a spot on the Opening Day roster, even if San Diego goes out and adds a veteran outfielder.

The Padres have to figure out exactly who they are going to start the 2024 season with very soon with their regular season beginning in Seoul, South Korea on March 20. Based on the pace of these spring roster cuts, we could find out how this is all going to shake out in the coming days.

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