Padres News: Padres Have Tough Decisions Ahead

Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

So, about that logjam that is supposed to affect the Padres infield with players returning. That logjam has already arrived with Yonder Alonso returning to the lineup, and is only going to get tougher once Wil Myers returns to the team.

However, the outfield is going to see a logjam of its own beginning today, June 8. Melvin Upton, Jr., the other player the San Diego Padres acquired in the deal that got them Craig Kimbrel, is healthy and has successfully completed his rehab stint at AAA El Paso.

Upton, Jr. now joins an outfield that is already occupied with three quality players. Melvin’s brother, Justin, is doing exactly what he was expected to do when he was acquired back in December.

Matt Kemp had a rough May, but his bat is starting to come alive early in June. Will Venable has made a strong case to play every day in center field, both defensively and offensively.

Upton played in 13 games with the El Paso Chihuahuas for his rehab assignment. He posted a .280 batting average, and had a .380 slugging percentage with one home run and six RBIs. Those numbers are a huge improvement compared to what he did in Atlanta last season.

In 2014, Upton hit .208, but what is more glaring are the number of times he struck out. He whiffed 173 times in 519 at-bats. Upton’s hope, as well as the Padres, is that a change of scenery can help him jump-start his flailing career and get back to the production he put up while playing for Tampa Bay from 2006-2012.

If Upton has the same struggles after his return, the answer will be simple — keep him on the bench. But if he produces, the decision will be much tougher. One silver lining is there for the team. The Padres are still very much alive in the postseason chase.

With the trade deadline approaching in just over six weeks, General Manager A.J. Preller has valuable trade chips at his expense. Preller can use the cards in his hand to address the team’s needs before the home stretch of the season begins.

Andrew Cashner has been struggling, and while Ian Kennedy‘s last start went better than expected, it hasn’t erased the concerns surrounding him going forward.

Of course, that glaring problem at short stop still sticks out like a sore thumb. Preller does have options as far as who he can acquire to fill that position, it’s just a matter of when he wants to pull the trigger and if other teams are willing to bite.

The answers to the questions surrounding the team may present themselves as early as this week. But while the season is still early, the window will close quicker than people might think if the issues aren’t addressed.

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Mike Ursery
Mike is the sports editor for the Fayette Advertiser, and has been with East Village Times since 2015. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report. He is an avid Padres fan who is keeping the faith and trusting the process.
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