The San Diego Padres might not need to make a move for an outfielder
This certainly isn’t the most popular argument here, but A.J. Preller may not need to deal away prospects for a right fielder.
It’s always fun speculating and hoping that a deal is made for a new face. That is the fun of the game. However, that doesn’t mean it will lead to a playoff run or a World Series title. The team needs to be playing well in all areas of the game in order for that to happen.
The 2021 WS Champs Atlanta Braves are a counterargument to what I just said. They clearly had no choice but to go out and trade for assets like Joe Pederson and Eddie Rosario to fill the void of losing superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. It ended up working for them.
The Padres are in a similar situation now, with Fernando Tatis Jr. out at least another month. The good news is that the team is playing very well, and he will basically be like a deadline addition to this lineup. You won’t like to hear it, but the Padres are certainly considering putting him in the outfield with how well Ha-Seong Kim is playing at shortstop. But don’t worry, that isn’t what this piece will be about.
The argument here is that the Friars can stand pat for an outfielder … at least for now. Things can happen over the course of the next two months leading up to the deadline that could result in a change of heart. But currently, this lineup has a potential star in almost every spot.
I’m not saying Preller should not make a move at all, but as for a right fielder, they may want to hold off for now.
There are two players that are competing for the right field spot with Will Myers on the IL. Nomar Mazara and Jose Azocar are basically switching off daily depending on the opponent’s starting pitcher. Azocar has been with the team since the beginning of the season when he made the Opening Day roster. As for Mazara, he started in Triple-A and has been torching the Pacific Coast League for the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Azocar is playing well as of late. He’s batting .271 on the season with 19 hits and five RBIs. He hasn’t started in many games but has appeared late defensively for majority of his time. Azocar has speed and is great on the base paths, with two steals on the season. That is crucial to have on the bench.
If the Venezuela native can keep this pace, then there is no doubt he will stay on this roster. We have already seen him smack a walk-off single against the Milwaukee Brewers. Azocar just needs to continue to play great defense, and he could become an important part of this outfield.
— MLB (@MLB) May 24, 2022
Now for the lefty. Mazara is someone to really pay attention to for the next few weeks. It hasn’t been long since Mazara was called up from El Paso, but in the short time he’s been a Friar, he has contributed. The lefty has just 16 plate appearances so far but is batting .333 with five hits (one double) and one RBI. Mazara was a solid hitter for the Texas Rangers a few years back and has seemed to have found that groove in 2022.
In 35 games with the Chihuahuas, the 27-year-old hit .367 with seven bombs and 27 RBIs. He slashed an advanced line of .454/.641/.1.095. His OPS at 1.095 is incredible through 35 games, and it was only a matter of time until he was brought back to the big leagues. Mazara could end up being a crucial part of this outfield as long as Myers is out. With Trent Grisham locking down centerfield (for now) and Jurickson Profar handling left field, this allows Mazara and Azocar to get a lot of playing time heading into the halfway point of the season.
The DH allows for the Padres to try out some different lineups when needed. Mazara can be a DH option as well as Azocar has the better speed for the outfield.
There will be names that are spread out by the media that will show interest from the Padres. That will probably be the case as long as Preller is the Padres’ GM. Preller could very well try and land another outfielder before the deadline to really boost the lineup. It will more than likely cost a prospect that the organization isn’t willing to let go of just yet. If that is indeed the reason, then Preller should hold off and platoon Mazara and Azocar behind a healthy Will Myers.
The Myers situation is a confusing one as we know this will likely be his last season in San Diego. Because of that, it is smart to look ahead at potential right filters for the future. If Mazara and or Azocar continue to play well for the Friars, why can’t it be them?