The San Diego Padres have had quite a bit of turnover in recent years. This winter has been no different as the team has added a couple of new young utility players. Carlos Asuaje has already been singled out by A.J. Preller as a player who could be given an opportunity to make the opening day roster.
Jose Pirela was also added to the team in a trade with the New York Yankees. He gives the Padres a new utility option with Major League experience. With both these young players added to the Padres system, has Alexi Amarista become expendable?
Asuaje has the ability to play second base, third base and he can also play either corner outfield position. Pirela has the same skill set on defense as Asuaje except for the fact he is a left-handed hitter. Pirela is also two years older. The two could easily handle the position and each may have some untapped upside that just isn’t evident in Amarista.
Asuaje is 24 and Pirela is 26. They both have youth on their side but consider the fact Alexi Amarista is 26 years old himself. Amarista also has five years of Major League service and experience. He has the ability to play center field and shortstop. Neither Asuaje or Pirela can play center and both haven’t played shortstop since the lower Minor League levels.
So if the Padres wish to lose Amarista, they must be sure to have two players on their roster who can play center and shortstop. Defense should be a priority for the 2016 Padres and it would be difficult seeing Jedd Gyorko or Will Middlebrooks out there at shortstop when the game is on the line.
Amarista has experience and the ability to play all over the diamond but he continues to struggle with the bat. He has a career .274 on base percentage in over 1,400 at bats in the Major Leagues. That is horrible. He hasn’t gotten better either as Amarista had a .257 on base percentage last year. He provides little to no power and his speed has never developed like it was supposed to. Amarista has only 29 career steals on 541 games.
So what is the market on Amarista? Would another team be willing to trade for him? He is under control for the next two years and isn’t eligible for arbitration until next season. If nobody trades for him would the Padres just DFA him and put him on waivers? His future with the team is cloudy at best. We will see how A.J. Preller and company handle juggling the roster around. Anything can happen and Amarista could easily be retained, dealt or released. What do you guys believe his fate will be?