With all the upgrade to the San Diego Padres team there are still some missing pieces to a potential play-off team. Among one of the issues has been the play at shortstop. Where Alexi Amarista has been adequate at best. His career sub .300 on base percentage leads most to believe he is not capable of starting everyday.
The Minnesota Twins have a lot of youth, almost ready at the major league level. Their farm system is completed loaded in all aspects of the game. At the shortstop position the Twins have Nick Gordon and Jorge Polanco in the minor leagues. Polanco is a 21-year-old prospect who is widely considered a low floor prospect. He will most surely be an everyday shortstop. Polanco has an above average bat to go with a great defensive glove. The switch hitting shortstop could probably make his major league debut this September.
Nick Gordon is the Twins #5 ranked prospect, after being drafted in the first round (5th overall) of the 2014 draft. The younger brother of Dee Gordon and son of Tom Gordon has a very deep pedigree of major league experience at his finger tips. The 19-year-old shortstop is a very decent prospect but he is at least two seasons from even being close to major league ready. Twins fans will have to wait until 2017 or 2018 to see Gordon in the Twin Cities.
With these two young studs on the way the Minnesota Twins have a young shortstop that could be of interest to the Padres. I have already speculated that Danny Santana would be an interesting upgrade for the Padres. Santana had a break-out year last season as a rookie in which he went .319/.353/.472 with seven home runs and 40 runs batted in, while stealing 20 bags. Santana rotated between center field and shortstop for the Minnesota Twins in 2014. This 2015 season he has been used exclusively at shortstop.
The season Danny Santana had last season is a bit concerning though. He is off to a rough start so far this season with a .231/.242/.277 batting line. In the minors Santana never really hit exceptionally well. In fact Santana never hit .300 in his seven minor league seasons at any level. The .319 batting average last season in the majors is considered a fluke by many inside the game. Santana is young though and at the age of 24, its possible he just figure it out.
The Minnesota Twins are currently 9-11 and are not in any great hurry to move talent. However if a deal can be reached by the two teams to benefit each others needs, then it is possible. The Twins would undoubtedly have interest in some starting pitching. Odrisamer Despaigne, Robbie Erlin or even Ian Kennedy could be attained in the right deal. Kennedy being a free agent, and a Boras client, is obviously not going to re-sign here in San Diego and could fetch a decent return in a deal.
Santana is a possible upgrade for the Padres but like I said, he does have some red flags. The defense Santana provided for the Twins at shortstop last year in 261.2 innings (.983 fielding percentage) led them to believe he could be an adequate major league shortstop. This year Santana has already doubled his errors (five) from last season (two) in 121 less innings. That gives him a .933 fielding percentage so far this year. That is right on par with his career minor league fielding percentage of .932 in 420 games at shortstop. A big red flag to whether Santana can handle the position without killing the team with error after error.
Another major issue is Santana’s strikeout rate. He has struck out a whooping 21 times in 65 at bats so far this season. That is beyond ridiculous and with numbers like that he could be sent down to Triple-A. If the Padres want to take a chance on Santana, he could probably be had for a decent price. The Twins have Eduardo Escobar already at the major league level who could quite easily fill in as the everyday shortstop. In fact some in Minnesota would argue, he should be the starter anyway.
A.J. Preller is surely looking around for upgrades. Most Padres fans would focus at the shortstop position as the area that needs upgrading. Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes haven’t been horrible and they are not to blame for the problems the Padres are having on the field. They are however the scapegoats for a team that has great expectations. If the Padres don’t pull themselves out of this hole they have created then there will be many changes in around the team.