The youth movement is officially underway. The San Diego Padres have started the rebuilding process led by general manager A.J. Preller. Though the team is stacked with quality young outfielders the Padres are having internal discussions about the possibility of re-signing Jay.
When cultivating talent on a baseball team you need to have some veteran presence. Jay would easily provide that as he is one of the most well-respected players in the league. Players all around the game of baseball understand how he plays the game and most have great respect for the man.
Since signing with the Padres in the off-season, Jay has played a very good center field for the team. Before breaking his forearm, Jay recorded a near .300 BA, and 80 hits through hos first 68 games as a Friar. His ability and mental game paid dividends for the Padres when he was in the lineup.
Jay hit mostly leadoff for the team but with Travis Jankowski‘s emergence it is unclear where Jay will fit in the lineup moving forward. He is presently in Lake Elsinore in a rehab outing. He will rejoin the team eventually, perhaps as soon as the next home stand.
The Padres should be able to sign Jay in the off-season if they get aggressive. His injury this year actually gives the Padres a better chance in signing him as prior to the broken arm, he would have probably commanded too much of a salary for the Padres.A one-year deal makes sense for both sides as Jay could boost his value for a long-term deal someone in the future at top dollar value and the Padres get his tutelage for their young outfield crew.
Looking ahead to next year, Jay could add some veteran versatility in the outfield, due to the young players expected to swarm to the big leagues. Travis Jankowski, who is already with the Padres, has proven he can play at the big league level, by posting a slash line of .253/.351/.328. Manuel Margot, who is expected to compete for the center field position, looks like he can also be the Padres starting center fielder next year. Margot is putting up some good numbers in Triple-A for the EL Paso Chihuahuas. Currently, Margot is putting up a slash line of .304/.351/.428.
Then there is reigning PCL MVP Hunter Renfroe. He just won the award by posting a .303/.333/.557 slash line with 30 home runs and 105 RBI so far this season. Renfroe has done all he can do at Triple-A. He will be in right field for the Padres next year unless he is traded. That is for certain.
There seems to be no room for Jay as Renfroe, Jankowski and Margot are all seemingly major league ready. That however couldn’t be further from the truth. Margot is still 21 and there is no assurance that he will be ready come April for major league service time. Jankowski seems like he can handle the job and Renfroe is ready, but all three are still young and a veteran to rotate with them makes great sense.
Factor in Jon Jay plays excellent defense to the equation. The Padres seem to be stressing an importance on defense and he will only help that for the Friars. Lastly, Jon Jay is bilingual. That is extremely helpful in the fact the Padres have plenty of young Latino stars in the major and about to hit the major league level. Having Jay around can only help facilitate the fact the team expects their players to perform a certain way. At the end of the day he should be retained by the Padres, but that all depends on what he can get on the open market and if he’s be willing to take a one-year deal (maybe two) with a Padres team that is rebuilding. It will be an interesting story. One thing is for sure– Jon Jay would make the Padres a better team.