Since the acquisition of Christian Bethancourt on December 10th, the San Diego Padres have been relatively quiet, making only minor moves on the free agent market. While nothing big has happened in the new year, the Padres have made a minor move that could prove significant. Relatively quietly on Friday, the San Diego Padres signed utility man Adam Rosales to a minor league deal for the 2016 season.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) January 8, 2016
The first thought when hearing about this signing is generally this: Who is Adam Rosales? Rosales has seen big league playing time in each of the past eight seasons, accumulating a slash line of .227/.294/.342 with 27 home runs over 1,226 plate appearances in his career. Rosales most recently played with the Texas Rangers last season, ending up a free agent midway through the season after refusing to be sent to Triple A.
Rosales finished the 2015 season with 125 plate appearances in 55 games, slashing .228/.296/.342. Based on those numbers, it is pretty clear that Rosales did not provide much at the plate in 2015, or really in any of his previous years with the Rangers. Rosales has maintained a roster spot on big league rosters for so long due more to his ability in the field than his ability on the plate. While not a sterling defender by any measure, Rosales is known most for his versatility in the field, logging innings at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, SS, LF, and even pitcher for the Rangers over the last several years.
Clearly this doesn’t solve the Padres starting shortstop problem, but it does provide the Padres with further options. At this point, Alexi Amarista is still the starting shortstop, with both Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaje likely competing for some sort of backup/utility role in the infield, vying for time at shortstop, second base, and third base. Rosales likely will fit into that same role, with the added benefit of being able to play outfield as well as first base.
With a minor league deal, Rosales will likely be there at Spring Training to compete for a utility role with Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaje. It remains to be seen who fits into that role, but this is clearly a secondary question. The bigger question for the Padres is who will fill the role of the starting shortstop. And it will likely not be any of the three players mentioned above.