The San Diego Padres need to think outside the box when it comes to creating a 2017 roster.
The team has a lot of money spread out in the coming season to pay the contracts of Melvin Upton Jr., Matt Kemp, James Shields, Alexei Ramirez, and Hector Olivera. Almost $32 million dollars will be spent on these five players for the 2017 season. That cripples the team a bit, but in reality, the trades were about the long-term financial flexibility mixed with the prospects the team acquired for Shields and Upton.
A.J. Preller and the Padres’ management team is rebuilding this franchise from the ground floor. There are plenty of young controlled players like Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges on the team to be excited about next year. These young players will be fun to watch as each has a very high ceiling.
There is plenty of youth in regards to this Padres’ 2017 team, but there is a certain amount of veteran leadership that is needed to further cultivate these young players. The Padres will surely add a few here and there before spring training starts and the 2017 season begins. In true Padres fashion, the team will look for players who are undervalued and sign them to a one year deal in the hope they can boost their value, and then possibly flip them before the trade deadline for more prospects. Jhoulys Chacin is a perfect example of this. He chose to come here and turned down offers from other teams.
Adam Lind is another player to keep an eye on. I know he traditionally plays everyday, and he also can only play first base at this point in his career, but he could provide the team with something they need really badly. A left-handed hitter who mashes right-handed pitchers consistently. Yangervis Solarte is more than capable of doing that for the team, but the team needs another weapon in its lineup that swings from the left side of the batter’s box.
The Padres currently have Wil Myers entrenched at first base and he seems more than content playing the position. However, Myers does have the ability to play an above average corner outfield, and that can be utilized if the Padres care to explore some flexibility with their lineup on a daily basis.
Playing in the N.L. West, there will be times when the Padres face Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, Jon Gray, Jeff Samardzija, and Kenta Maeda. Having both Renfroe and Margot (both rookies) in your lineup constantly against these tough right-handed pitchers could be bad, both for their development and for the team itself. Being able to put Myers in left or right to provide an occasional rest for Renfroe or Margot could be a really nice luxury for the young Padres team.
The idea of having Myers move positions again could be viewed as useless, but his athleticism is wasted to a certain degree at a position that is traditionally viewed as a place you put guys who can hit and do little else. Myers has shown the ability in the past to be an above-average corner outfielder. Again, this would only be a couple of days a week at most. Renfroe and Margot should get the lion’s share of the starts in the lineup, but an occasional rest day against a tough pitcher will go a long way towards ensuring their growth.
Here are Lind’s career numbers. He maintains a decent on base percentage and puts the ball in play pretty well for a power hitter. At the age of 33, he is coming off a bad year in Seattle where he recorded a .239/.286/.431 slash line in 126 games while hitting 20 homers and driving in 58 runs. He could be an undervalued player that is due for a productive year.
He has been in the league for 11 years, and comes with a reputation for being a hitter who smashes right-handed pitchers. He has a career .287/.347/.502 batting line against right-handers and has hit 164 out of his 186 career home runs against them. Last year he did struggle against right-handed pitchers, as he only hit .239 with a .287 on base percentage in 351 at bats. His value took a hit, and that is where the Padres could get a lot of bang for their buck with Lind.
He has always had back issues. Playing on the turf in Toronto and the cold in Seattle probably were not beneficial for him, but playing 81 games in sunny San Diego could do wonders for his balky back. However, Lind will want the majority of the playing time at first base, and that could be an issue in him signing with the Padres. His representatives are looking for the best situation for him and that means the most amount of playing time. At this point he would struggle to get much time in the Padres lineup. Sure, he could DH and get spot starts at first, but the 11-year veteran would have a hard time getting 300 at bats in a Padres uniform. That could be the determining factor in him choosing the Padres over another team.
Then there is the Alex Dickerson factor. The young outfielder/first baseman currently serves as the team’s backup first baseman, and with him on the team, Adam Lind is really not needed. If Dickerson is packaged in a deal, then adding Lind makes sense. If the team goes into the spring with Dickerson on the 25-man roster, then Lind will obviously not be needed. There are a lot of determining factors here, but if the price tag goes down low enough on Lind, the Padres will surely kick the tires. It is entirely possible that he gets zero offers for a regular everyday job and has to take a role as a bench player. Lind’s price then would be affordable and the Padres could bring him in on a 1-year deal at a couple million dollars with incentives. Keep an eye on this situation as the team starts to bargain hunt for the Holidays.