Platoon Dozier and Greg Garcia
The only way guys like Greg Garcia or the other remaining candidates get in on the mix is via platoon. Dozier and Profar, in all likelihood, are the only candidates for everyday action at second base, and it’s highly unlikely that both of them fall so hard that the Padres move on from each. Garcia quietly had a solid season in San Diego in 2019, posting a 1.4 WAR with a .364 on-base percentage in 134 games primarily as a utility infielder and bench piece.
Garcia, as a left-handed batter, hits righties much better than Dozier can at this stage of his career. He had a .743 OPS and 101 OPS+ against righties last year compared to .517 and 42 against southpaws. The 30-year-old Valhalla High alum can earn spots against tough right-handers with a strong spring.
Unfortunately, he likely also has to count on a poor spring performance from Profar, who comes into camp with a leg up given his reputation and experience. Either way, Garcia is a likely roster candidate for a similar role as he had last season.
Platoon Profar and Jake Cronenworth
If Dozier does not work out and is released, the Padres are still left with a plethora of second base choices. The two-way player Jake Cronenworth has played the majority of his minor league career up the middle between shortstop and second base.
As mentioned, Profar’s splits favor facing right-handers. Oddly, Cronenworth, a lefty bat, has slightly better minor league numbers against left-handers with an OPS of .778 in 2018 and a startling 1.040 in 2019 against southpaws. It would be odd to have a platoon where they would both end up batting from the left side, but if Cronenworth can translate those “reverse splits” to the big leagues, this platoon will suffice.
Cronenworth is battling for that 26th roster spot for Opening Day. Given his versatility as a batter and pitcher, if he can continue to hit against lefties, he will almost surely be on the roster in some capacity.
Platoon Profar and Ty France
Unlike most on this list, Ty France had major league experience with the Padres in 2019 and even played 21 games as a second baseman. France put up ridiculous numbers in Triple-A before getting called up, culminating in a 1.247 OPS in 76 games for El Paso. He showed flashes of ability to handle himself in the big leagues but had a steep learning curve, batting .234 with a .696 OPS and 83 OPS+.
However, as a powerful right-handed bat, his skills may be best served as a platoon against lefties in a role that can help him stick on the big league roster. The former SDSU Aztec has potential for big-time power, with 49 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018 and 2019.
France will be given ample chances to make the club this spring, be it as a platoon second baseman or a backup to all four infield spots.
Platoon Dozier and Esteban Quiroz
We have entered the “chances are slim to none” field of possibilities. Now 28 years old, Esteban Quiroz has paid his dues, toiling through nine seasons of professional baseball without a single at-bat in the major leagues. Quiroz came to the San Diego organization before last season in a small trade with Boston, and he lit it up in the Pacific Coast League for El Paso, with a .923 OPS, 122 wRC+, and 19 home runs in 96 games.
The 5’7″ Sonora, Mexico native, is a lefty bat who had favorable splits for El Paso, with over a .900 OPS against both sides. Naturally, as a lefty, he likely prefers to hit against right-handers, against whom he had a 1.089 OPS in 2018 for Double-A Portland.
This opens the door for Dozier, who mashes southpaws, to take on a platoon role with Quiroz.
Quiroz seems like a longshot at best to be in the Opening Day lineup on March 26, given he is a non-roster invitee. He even has an uphill battle to make the roster, but a lot can happen in the next four weeks.
Other options to consider
File Breyvic Valera under “longshot,” but anything is possible with still almost a month of Spring Training to go. What gives him a leg up on guys like Quiroz, Gordon Beckham is that he is on the current 40-man roster and not a non-roster invitee and also the fact that he is a switch hitter.
Valera labored in the minor leagues for the better part of 10 years with some brief stints with big-league clubs and was claimed by the Friars off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this month.
He is a lifetime .299 hitter in over 1,000 minor league games with over 1,000 hits. The 28-year-old Venezuelan spent most of his minor league days at second base with a sprinkling of experience around the rest of the infield. It would be disrespectful to omit him completely with how hard he has worked.
He is out of minor league options, meaning he needs to make the Opening Day club or be subjected to waivers.
It is well documented that Beckham was once the eighth overall pick in 2008 and was supposed to be part of the next great Chicago White Sox team. Things have not panned out for Beckham, but to his credit, at 33 years old, he is still fighting for a chance to play every day in a big-league uniform.
The former Georgia Bulldog has logged over 1,300 games between the minor and major leagues and has played a big-league game for six different teams. Like the other non-roster invitees, his chances are low and his path directly uphill to be on the roster on Opening Day.
Mejias-Brean certainly endeared himself to Padres fans last season when he hit a three-run walk-off home run against the Diamondbacks in late September, which was just his second career homer. Much like his non-roster counterparts, he is approaching 30 years old and has lots of minor league experience under his belt. The roster is a bit more crowded this year than it was in 2019, and his chances to get into the lineup are slim compared to last season.
The former eighth-round pick in 2012 has experience at every infield position except second base throughout his professional career. Still, if there is any hope of him getting regular at-bats with the 2020 Padres, that may have to change.