With this season coming to an end, the MLB “Hot Stove” will begin heating up soon.
Teams will sign free agents and make trades. Could the San Diego Padres be one of those teams?
The Padres’ starting shortstop in 2017, Erick Aybar, was brought in on a one-year deal. With his deal expiring and no mention of him being back next season, the Padres are without a true shortstop to man the position. Yangervis Solarte has manned the position at times this year, but the team won’t want him there for an entire season.
If the team does decide to pursue another shortstop for a deal similar to what they gave Aybar, who should they sign?
East Village Times explores some of the possible shortstops San Diego could target during the offseason.
Escobar’s contract with the Kansas City Royals expired at the end of the 2017 season. Escobar finished his seventh season with the former World Champions with a .270 on-base percentage. In 2016, he reached career-highs in home runs with seven, RBI with 55, and played in all 162 games. He played in every game of the season in 2014 as well.
Escobar was part of a Royals team that was remembered for its clubhouse chemistry, something that propelled them to a sweep through the American League playoffs on their way to the World Series in 2014, and winning the franchise’s second world title in 2015.
If Escobar were to accept a one-year deal to play in San Diego, he could be another seasoned veteran in a clubhouse full of youngsters. He also could be a mentor to Jose Rondon if he is with the Padres for the 2018 season. He spent all of 2017 with Triple-A El Paso.
If Escobar can’t be had, another shortstop the Padres could target is Stephen Drew. Drew hasn’t been an everyday player for quite some time. He’s 34 years old, and is finishing up his 12th season in the bigs. He’s played less than 90 games in three of his last five seasons. He really wasn’t the same after a horrendous ankle injury during the 2012 season.
The Washington Nationals had Drew on their roster for the past two seasons to play a utility role. The Padres could bring him on in 2018 for the same purpose. He, too, would be an experienced veteran in a young clubhouse. He has some pop, and is able to get on base. His OBP has been above .300 the past two seasons.
Yes, Adam Rosales already spent time with the Padres. He played 105 games for the Friars in 2016, playing every position except center field and catcher. He hit a meager .229 while with the Padres, and struck out 35 percent of the time.
His time spent in both Oakland and Arizona this season reflected the same kind of production. Signing Rosales might leave San Diego fans scratching their heads if it were to happen. Perhaps no one could foresee this being a popular signing, and defending the decision to sign him would be difficult.
However, the deal would only be for a year. The Padres signed Erick Aybar this season for just a year, and his purpose was to man the shortstop position and get the team through the season. Rosales could be signed for the same reason for the 2018 season. The same would go for Escobar, or Drew, or anyone else not named Jose Rondon, if Rondon is not tabbed to be the everyday shortstop next season.
This team still has a long way to go in terms of being competitive. Fans certainly want to see this team win more than 75 games next season, but no one should expect them to contend for the division, or even a wild card. That time has not yet come.
The Padres probably won’t do much as far as free agent signings during the 2017-2018 offseason. If they do, it likely could be for another shortstop. Enjoy the winter, Padres fans. Spring will be here again before we know it.