The San Diego Padres overhauled their team in a huge way this off-season and the city of San Diego could not be happier. However, immediately after the smoke cleared, the basebałl community questioned the defensive ability of the new Padres as a team. The outfield defense was considered a liability, and Wil Myers was projected to be a horrible failure at center field.
Not only has Wil Myers been a pleasant surprise, but he has shown the hustle and heart necessary to endear yourself to the Padres faithful. Myers has shown the ability to play an above average defense and his speed has been amazing. He has consistently made quick jumps on the ball and can be seen backing up both Matt Kemp and Justin Upton on a regular basis. Very impressive performance so far from the 24-year-old. If there will be defensive issues, they will not come from the center field position.
Matt Kemp and Justin Upton were both considered below average defenders and Kemp in particular was highly questioned for his defensive abilities. Kemp has done nothing but play well on the field and Upton too has been flawless. Seeing Kemp dive for balls and use his rocket arm successfully, just makes me shake my head at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodger fans I know couldn’t wait to tell me how horrible Kemp was on defense, but I have seen nothing but positives from him. All three outfielders were supposed to be the weakest links in the Padres defense, however its the infield which is letting the team down.
The play from the infield has been sporadic and abysmal from time to time this season. Only Will Middlebrooks at third base has been solid thus far, and he has already made one error. Three errors from the shortstop position (two from Clint Barmes, one from Alexi Amarista) already in 14 games is something that needs to be fixed. You cant have play like that from a pivotal position like shortstop. 12 errors in total for the whole team through the first 14 games, is horrendous. Yangervis Solarte himself has made three errors. Two of them were made at first base, where he is clearly out of his element. Bud Black has his work cut out for him as the Padres defensive issues could continue all season long. Only a trade can potentially settle down the infield issues.
Can A.J. Preller find a trade partner who not only fixes the Padres defensive problems but does so without messing with the existing chemistry? It will be tough, though I am fairly certain A.J. Preller is actively looking for his next trade. Luis Sardinas, Danny Santana and Starlin Castro are all attainable, but each has issues and none of them are a perfect fit. Castro is probably the most noted and the most available, but he has questionable character and is not noted as a great defender. At the age of 25, Castro could mature, but at the same time his personality might poison what is a very tight group. Its amazing how well this team has played together, so early.
In order for the Padres to compete in the National League they need to pick up the defense. Give them time, as a lot of the players are playing in positions they aren’t used to. If the trend does continue however, expect a change to be made. A.J. Preller has already shown he is not one to hesitate if a need comes up.