With Luis Urias now a Milwaukee Brewer, here is a look at some of the options for the San Diego Padres at second base for the 2020 season and beyond.
There are plenty of options for the San Diego Padres at second base as they suddenly need one.
Luis Urias is gone as he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
The team has a few internal options that will surely factor one way or another. Several free agents could fit the profile of what the Padres are looking for at the keystone position. Let’s review the options.
If the Padres want to stay in-house with an everyday option at the position, former SDSU Aztec Ty France makes sense. The offensive punch he would provide at the area would be a welcome addition, but the converted third/first baseman might have issues with footwork and such at an everyday level in the Major Leagues. France is also right-handed, and the team seems to be coveting more left-handed batters in the lineup.
There is no doubt that Garcia is instrumental in short spurts, but there are some reasons to be concerned if he is capable of playing second base for 145 plus games in a season. The left-handed hitter will get on base and will make a pitcher work. The fact he has hit .186 in his career against left-handed pitchers means that the Padres will need a right-handed complement to the veteran. Garcia is a strong leader in the clubhouse, and he will earn at-bats somewhere for the Padres in 2020.
Fernando Tatis Jr. recently praised Kinsler for helping him during the 2019 season. The veteran second baseman did not perform well with the bat last season, but he brings value in different ways to the young Padres. If he stays with the team in 2020, it will be at a coaching-type level. The Padres cannot expect much from him offensively, but the players envision Kinsler as a mentor of sorts.
Internal Minor League options
The 27-year-old Mexican second baseman has the most seniority of this group of three. He played the 2019 season in El Paso, recording a .923 OPS in 96 games. He slugged 19 homers as a Chihuahua, which is a career-high for him in a season. The left-handed hitter is small and scrappy and would probably be a fan favorite if the Padres faithful saw him play every day. The journeyman can play all over the diamond, which adds a plus element to his game.
The Texas League Batting Champion hit .313 for the Sod Poodles and recorded a .808 OPS in 104 games. Pretty satisfying numbers for his first year in the Padres’ minor league system. The 25-year-old is a switch-hitter with strong hand-eye coordination from both sides of the plate. There is not much power from the 5-foot-9 infielder, but he makes up for that with above-average speed. The Dominican infielder has a solid chance to make a debut for the Padres in 2020 if the team fails to add any new second baseman to its roster.
This calm, cool, and collective infielder will be a Major Leaguer. There is no question in that. Miller displays a line-drive approach at the plate and is described by teammates as a player who always stays even-keeled. Miller will never get too high or too low in the game of baseball, and that dictates a long Major League career. In 2019, the 3rd-round pick put up a .785 OPS in Double-A, which was his first taste of full-season pro ball. At 23, Miller has plenty of time to grow as a player, and that is a scary thought.
The 29-year-old left-handed hitter was an All-Star in 2018 when he put up a .847 OPS and hit 23 homers for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2017, he recorded a .874 OPS for the Reds in 141 games. There is potential in his bat, but he had a down year last year putting up a .568 OPS between the Reds and the Giants. There are some defensive concerns with the infielder who is not regarded as a plus defender. The seven-year veteran would be an inexpensive signing for the club.
If the Padres want to get nostalgic, they can bring back former Padres prospect Eric Sogard. The left-handed hitter was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Padres but traded in 2010 to the Oakland Athletics in a deal for Scott Hairston. Sogard is a plus defender and a professional hitter. The 33-year-old is a bit on the older side, but he gets on base and makes contact. That is something the Padres lack currently. He put up a .810 OPS last year in 110 games with Toronto and Tampa.
The Indians chose to buy-out Kipnis’ 2020 season for $2.5 million, making him a free agent. The infielder made $14.6 million in 2019 and will surely be making a less player-friendly amount in 2020. The left-handed hitter and two-time All-Star just had three unproductive seasons in which he produced a .705, 704, and .715 OPS for the Tribe. At 32, there may still be life in his bat. Kipnis still hits well off of right-handed pitchers and can play some outfield, which is helpful.
The defensive wizard and recent AL Gold-Glove winner was surprisingly let go by the White Sox as they did not want to pay him what he would earn in arbitration. Sanchez has little to no power and doesn’t provide a whole lot of offensive ability. The Venezuelan native is a character and a great clubhouse guy and has shown some versatility with the glove. Sanchez probably is not a fit for the Padres as they will prefer offensive punch from the position.
Gregorius could play second base very easily if the Padres were to sign him. He is very smooth at shortstop with his footwork, and the transition would be relatively easy for the 30-year-old infielder. The left-handed hitter has plus power and generally makes contact to all fields. He made $11.7 million last year and will probably make a pretty penny on the open market. Gregorius only put up a .718 OPS last year in New York but was coming back from a serious arm injury.
If the Padres covet power from the position, they could bring Mike Moustakas to San Diego to play alongside his former Royals teammate Eric Hosmer. Moustakas started 40 games for Milwaukee last year, and the reviews are mixed as far as his defense is concerned. The infielder slugged at a .516 clip last year and put up a .845 OPS while recording 35 homers. At 31, Moustakas is probably looking for a decent payday and at least a three-year deal. There is risk in this option, but “Moose” would provide instant power from the left side.