The San Diego Padres have made their first trade of the season. Much like the addition of Clint Barmes last November, this addition could be the calm before a storm. The team sent 20-year-old pitcher Ronald Herrera to the New York Yankees for Jose Pirela, who will be 26 in 10 days.
Jose Pirela is a utility type player. He is capable of playing shortstop, but that is not a position he can be expected to play everyday. Word around the league is Pirela is more of a utility type player that can play every position except for catcher. So the answer is no. Pirela is not the answer for the Padres at shortstop in 2016. Not the expected trade, but Preller is working the trade market surely.
Pirela has 98 career Major League at bats with the Yankees. He has hit .255 with one home run and eight RBI’s. Pirela spent most of the 2015 season in Triple-A where he hit .325 with three homers and 23 RBI’s in 231 at bats. He is not eligible for arbitration until the 2019 season, and not eligible for free agency until 2022. He will provide the Padres a young utility man, who handle the bat fairly well.
The Venezuelan native makes consistent contact which is a good thing for a Padres team that strikes out entirely too much. Pirela is described as a super utility man, and that seems strange considering the Padres already have Alexi Amarista, Yangervis Solarte and Cory Spangenberg. Each of those player fits the mold of a utility player because of their ability to play multiple positions.
Could the Padres be positioning themselves to be moving one or more of these three men? Amarista has the most likelihood to be dealt as the team has obviously moved on from the idea that he is a viable option at shortstop. Solarte really showed a great bat last season and arguably was the most consistent Padres hitter. He is penciled in as the starting third baseman and should probably be retained in that position for 2016.
Cory Spangenberg is scheduled to be the second baseman, except the resurgence of Jedd Gyorko might alter the Padres thinking. That battle could heat up between the two, if they are both kept for the 2016 season. Who knows where Pirela fits in? The Padres are clearly molding their team from the bottom up. There will be some changes and this minor deal could be a prequel to a larger deal.
The acquisition of Pirela was a good one for the Padres. He can handle himself with the bat and his ability to play multiple positions will be extremely valuable for the franchise. His numbers in the minor leagues have been trending upwards. He is also still very young and could easily blossom while not being under the constant scrutiny of playing in the Big Apple. This first move of the offseason was small, but Padres fans appreciate the potential that Pirela has. Now how about a shortstop… please.