So it’s been another rough season for the San Diego Padres.
It’s fair to wonder if the current front office will be able to guide the franchise out of obscurity and into a playoff race anytime soon.
What would be unfair, though, is to say this is just the “same ole same ole” and a repeat of what the past Padres front offices have done. If there is a trade to be made, A.J. Preller will make it. And now that we’re at the end of what was always going to be a “rebuilding” year in San Diego, the Padres are throwing everything they can at the wall just to see what will stick, so to speak.
Whether it’s giving Luis Perdomo an extended chance to stick in the rotation, or calling up 28-year-old rookie Ryan Schimpf, or giving Oswaldo Arcia the opportunity to rediscover the form he showed in 2014 when he hit a 20 home runs with the Twins, the Padres are trying it all.
Another example of this strategy is the acquisition Luis Sardinas. After being ranked as the Rangers #2 prospect ahead of Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo in 2013 when he was 20, Sardinas has struggled to make is mark at the major league level.
With Texas he was always going to struggle to earn a starting spot, so he was traded to Milwaukee, and then to Seattle. Both clubs have since had other young middle infielders develop into major leaguers, whereas Sardinas struggled mightily at the plate in brief opportunities in the majors. John Sickels in 2014 noted his speed could get him 20 stolen bases a year, but his bat lagged behind his glove and with more experience he could become an “excellent defender”.
His bat was still lagging behind his defensive ability in 2015 when he played 36 games for Milwaukee and only hit .196. In Triple-A this season he managed a .253 batting average. Due to his defensive ability and the Padres need for a longterm shortstop, Sardinas is getting another chance to finally figure it out at the plate. And he may be doing just that.
Through 17 games with the Padres he’s hitting line drives and he is getting on base, and has a solid .286/.386/.429 slash line. Certainly a small sample size, but it’s the best he’s performed against major league pitching to date and could be a sign that he’s finally developed into the player A.J. Preller hoped he could become when Preller signed him to the Rangers in 2011.
Even though he was a top prospect three years ago and has bounced around three teams with limited success since then, he’s still just 23 and far from his prime years. After Javier Guerra struggled in all areas in high A this season, and because the Padres are looking everywhere for young players to build around, he has the opportunity to become Padres shortstop of the future.
The Padres philosophy of looking anywhere and everywhere for young talent won’t always pay off, but if Sardinas continues to hit, he’ll be an example of success and have every opportunity to earn an everyday role for the Padres in 2017.