Padres News: Should the Padres Bring Back Brett Wallace?

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Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the seemingly endless sea of A.J. Preller’s off-season acquisitions was the quiet signing of Brett Wallace to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring training. Wallace obviously lacks the star power or name recognition of the likes of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers or James Shields, but he represented a very low risk, high reward addition to the roster.

Wallace did not see much playing time until near the end of the year, and obviously didn’t have the impact on the roster of those other acquisitions, but he still did his job efficiently and at a relatively cheap cost to the San Diego Padres. Wallace was initially drafted in the 42nd round of the 2005 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, though he did not sign with the team. Following his collegiate career at Arizona State University, Wallace was drafted in the first round with the 13th overall pick of the 2008 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

After a quick ascent through the Cardinals minor league system, that saw him reach Triple A by 2009, Wallace was traded to the Oakland Athletics right before the 2000 trade deadline as part of a package for Matt Holliday. A mere five months later Wallace was once again traded this time to the Toronto Blue Jays as part of a trade for Michael Taylor, who was just acquired from the Phillies as part of the Roy Halladay trade.

Just eight months after his second trade, Wallace was traded for a third time in less than a year, this time to the Houston Astros as part of a deal for Anthony Gose, who had just come from the Phillies to the Astros in a high profile trade for Roy Oswalt. Following the trade of Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees, Wallace was called up to the big league roster for the Astros before even appearing in a single game with their Triple A affiliate.

Wallace would go 0-4 in his debut, although he would get his first Major league hit the next day. Following some struggles over the next year, Wallace was sent back down to Triple A on August 1st, 2011. Wallace would be sent up and down by the Astros several times over the next few years before being designated for assignment in early February 2014. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in March before being traded back to the Blue Jays a few months later. After his contract with Toronto was up, Wallace signed a minor league contract with the Padres on December 13th, 2014.

Wallace would get his first call up with the Padres on June 19th, and would finish the year with 107 plate appearances over 64 games with a slash line of .302/.374/.521 and a wRC+ of 149 in mostly pinch hitting appearances. The Padres have the choice of paying Wallace in arbitration or they could non-tender his contract and not bring him back next season.

At this point, it makes more sense for the Padres to bring back Wallace. Obviously Wallace hasn’t had an illustrious career, but he has shown that he can be a good pinch hitter in the right situations. It is unlikely that Wallace would be any better in a starting role, given his struggles defensively, but if he can maintain his offensive performance, he is still a bat worth having off the bench. Wallace has most definitely earned another season as a San Diego Padre.

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