Despite the fact the San Diego Padres have a crowded outfielder presently, the team added veteran outfielder Nick Martini to the mix last week.
Coming into the 2019 season, the San Diego Padres had a complicated outfield full of potential.
Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero, and Travis Jankowski all competed in Peoria as camp broke. There was supposed to be a battle for playing time, and rumors of a possible trade were swirling. Instead of a competition, Cordero and Jankowski were hurt in the desert, and the once complicated situation cleared itself out.
For the better part of the 2019 season, the Padres rotated the remaining four outfielders. Not the easiest way to manage a unit, but with so many players craving time on the field, there was no other alternative. Andy Green has had his work cut out for him to find ample playing time for everyone. This season saw both Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe play centerfield as the team struggled to find a defensive quality backup for Margot.
The Padres traded Franmil Reyes, but that only opened the door for Josh Naylor to make his presence felt.
In recent weeks the team has used Josh Naylor extensively in the corner outfield position. The Padres also played Francisco Mejia in left field. The catcher looked serviceable in the outfield before he went down with an oblique injury. There is an evident quest for the Padres, and that is to get more left-handed in their lineup. The team also needs to utilize players who continually get on base.
Nick Martini gets on base. The left-handed hitter puts the ball in play and seldom strikes out as well. That is precisely what the Padres covet. The Padres claimed the outfielder from the A’s, and he was added to the roster.
The claim and signing of the 29-year-old makes a lot of sense for the Friars, or does it? He fits an obvious need for the team in terms of what they lack from their offensive unit. But, what exactly is the future for Martini in Padres’ brown? Does he have a shot at being a starter in 2020?
Another great question is why Travis Jankowski wasn’t given the opportunity that Martini has received? When on offensively, Jankowski provides adequate on-base skills, with superb defense to boot. The homegrown Padre had health issues but is 100 percent now. The addition of Martini has essentially taken any opportunity for Jankowski to start. The Padres stripped themselves of the ability to evaluate him further. His future is sadly cloudy.
Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, and Hunter Renfroe deserve playing time in the coming season. Josh Naylor has undoubtedly established himself in the past month and deserves an extended look. He has done all he can in the minors. Then there is Jankowski and Cordero who can both play centerfield. The Padres will need to make a few trades if they plan to keep Martini on the roster in 2020. There will be no room.
A trade seems more and more likely. With a considerable roster crunch coming for the Padres after the World Series, something will have to be done very soon. Including hurt players, the Padres have 51 men on their 40-man roster. At least 11 players will need to be cut in November. Dealing multiple players for prospects seems possible. Dealing multiple players for single individuals is also a possibility. A.J. Preller and his staff will be busy this winter.
The addition of Nick Martini further complicates the Padres roster now. It looks as though he will get ample at-bats in the last month of this season. In doing so, playing time is stripped from Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Josh Naylor, and Manuel Margot. Is this a good thing? More critical evaluation of each man is lost for the 2019 season. Nick Martini provides what the Padres want from a player- I get that. But with 24 games to play, he isn’t going to salvage the season or provide some beacon of hope for a struggling offensive unit. Getting more at-bats for Myers, Renfroe, Naylor, and Margot (who are all younger) seems much more important.