The Eric Hosmer signing has already had a trickle down effect on the roster.
Wil Myers will put away his first baseman’s mitt in order to track down fly balls in the outfield in 2018. Jose Pirela has been seen working on the infield and taking ground balls at second base. Both men are directly effected by bringing in Eric Hosmer, and they are not alone.
When you sign a player to a position that was already filled, there will be some issues. There will be players who need to change positions and there will be a certain restructuring of the clubhouse. Eric Hosmer brings a lot to the Padres, and with his signing, the Padres are suddenly overstocked in outfielders.
It is not the worst thing in the world to have depth when you are trying to compete, and the Padres presently have that in the outfield. Jon Morosi already reported that the Padres have taken some calls on Hunter Renfroe, as other teams explore trade options with the Padres. The young right-handed hitter seems like the odd man out presently, but I seriously doubt the team would move him unless they are overwhelmed.
You still have to figure that something will get done – perhaps not for Renfroe specifically, but with eight men competing to win four or maybe five spots on the 25-man roster, something has to give. Here is a glimpse at the Padres’ outfield presently:
Guaranteed a starting job in 2018
The young Dominican center fielder is the future of the team and he will surely be in the lineup each and every day. Margot looked awesome at times last season and should only improve in his sophomore season in the majors. He provides solid defense in center, where he patrols with ease. The swift-footed outfielder is also a top-of-the-order presence that the Padres really lack presently. Margot will either hit first or second in the lineup and should be able to play 150 plus games this coming season for the Friars. Expect a big year from the right-handed hitter in 2018 as he only gets more familiar with his settings and major league pitching.
The addition of Hosmer means that Myers will play his third position in four years for the San Diego Padres. He was not productive in the outfield his first time around, but that was in center (where he had no business being). He should have no problem adjusting to a corner outfield position, and perhaps the move will allow him to focus on hitting more. Myers is supposed to be given the first shot at right field (over Renfroe), but we will wait and see where exactly he is on opening day.
Battling for playing time
Immediately after Hosmer was signed, rumors started circulating that Hunter Renfroe is on the trade block. The majority of the talk regarding him was probably other teams calling the Padres in an attempt to gauge the trade value of Renfroe. The Padres shouldn’t be in a rush to deal Renfroe and Preller will surely play it cool. At 26, Renfroe is still very young. His bat is raw, but very appealing, as you cannot teach power. If Renfroe is dealt, it will only be for a decent haul. A.J. Preller will not give him away, no matter how stacked the outfield presently is.
The man who was once penciled in as the starting left fielder appears to be out of a job. Andy Green indicates that he will be in a battle with Hunter Renfroe for playing time in left field initially, but we will see what happens. Pirela can play second and first base too, so he has flexibility to his game. A platoon with the left-handed hitting Carlos Asuaje could be in order to start the 2018 season. Pirela was the Padres’ best offensive weapon last season, so the team should find him at bats no matter what.
In 2016 Dickerson broke out in some ways, displaying huge raw power from the left hand side of the plate. He struggled once again with injuries in 2017 and missed the whole year with a back injury. The potential is there for the outfielder and backup first baseman, but he will need to prove his health is in order. At this point, Dickerson is on the bubble for making the team and needs to have a pretty productive spring.
You have to really like what you see from this young man as he runs like a gazelle and has a fluid swing from the left-handed batter’s box. Franchy Cordero is a converted shortstop who has excelled in the outfield, as he plays truly the position with grace. He showed some pretty impressive hitting tools last season at the major league level, but also struck out at a 60% pace. Cordero has options left so he doesn’t need to make the team out of the spring, but if he catches fire, the Padres could be motivated to make room for him in the lineup.
On the outside looking in?
“Fast Freddy” needs a huge spring to make the Padres, and even that might not be enough. The Padres are happy with Manuel Margot in center and Jankowski’s true value is as a center fielder. He doesn’t hit enough to be regarded as a corner outfielder. The speed and defense to his game is certainly impressive. He could earn a job on the team out of the spring as a defensive replacement, but he would need an injury or trade for that to happen. He is a decent trade candidate for a team looking for a leadoff-type threat.
At this point, Szczur is just getting buried by depth on the team. He is now the fifth right-handed-hitting option for the Padres in the outfield after Myers, Margot, Pirela, and Renfroe. The team is horribly right-handed-hitting heavy, so players like Jankowski, Cordero, and Dickerson will have an advantage when it comes to making the Padres team out of the spring. Szczur is a capable center fielder and bench player, but is probably not a long-term answer for the Friars. It is to his benefit that the team needs a backup in center. If Cordero is optioned and Jankowski is traded, then Szczur will have to stay around to backup Margot in center.