Trying to fight their way into a pennant race…it is a baseball team full of flaws.
Here we are 95-games into the season, and the Padres still don’t have anything sorted out.
They have utilitymen trying to play on the left side of the infield. They have no legitimacy in centerfield.
Now they send Will Middlebrooks, their opening day third baseman, to El Paso with the mandate, play every inning at 3rd base, and get ready to come back and do a better job. Of course, he has holes in his bat, hitting (.211) getting on the plane to the Pacific Coast League.
They may like the spunk and versatility of Yangervais Solarte, the guy they got in the Yankees-Chase Headley deal, but his is a (.240) hitter and not an everyday third baseman, and surely not what Headley was. Of course he is cheap so that appeals to them.
Alexi Amirista plays hard, has range, but does not hit consistently. Great heart but not enough talent to be an everyday guy.
Clint Barmes, is a pro’s pro, and has had a nice season as a sub, but range is limited, and he is north of 30.
Jedd Gyroko is young, and they believe he will hit back to what he was as a rookie, when he popped 23-homers and played well at 2nd base. He has two homers this week, since re-emerging from the trip to Triple A, but who knows.
Maybe Corey Spangenberg’s occasional power, and constant energy will make a difference. Maybe his spot is the third baseman of the future, but if so, then why trade for Middlebrooks, and why not just lock the kid into the hot corner spot?
And of course there is the outfield-centerfield situation, where the hope, Cam Maybin, is now doing in Atlanta, what he did not do in San Diego. Produce.
Will Venable can get hot, but can also go cold. He gives you a glove in center, but you never know if this week will be a .300 week at the plate, or a .209 -edition. And I don’t think the recall of Abraham Almonte will put this team in a pennant race either.
They keep playing Melvin Upton, good glove with speed, but no bat. No longer the prospect he was in Tampa Bay. Obviously with a .203-batting average, and that 15M per year contract, he is more like he was in Atlanta, underachiever.
So the Padres have 4-of-8 positions with issues right now. They started the season defensively challenged. It remains so heading towards the back of the schedule. That coupled with a still inconsistent batting order and a shaky pitching staff.
To complicate it, they dealt away the high first round draft pick of a year ago, the college kid Treau Turner, already packaged off to the Washington Nationals. All he has done in a year and a half of organized ball, is hit, hit , and hit, something you haven’t seen from many infielders here..
Much has been made of the trading deadline, but this roster will be not be fixed by what they do on July 31st. We have a third of a disappointing season left, and lots more questions than answers with the Padres giving us another long-hot-disappointing summer.