With Will Middlebrooks getting a start at shortstop Saturday night, the San Diego Padres are really showing that they are growing impatient with their play from that position. The combination of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes has been hard to watch. The duo has not hit all season long and the Padres are obviously looking for an upgrade. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Sorry all you Amarista lovers, but he just doesn’t have the plate discipline to be an every day player. He is an excellent option on your bench, and that is where his value lies.
Looking around the league there are a few teams with extra value at the shortstop position. The Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers are the most obvious choices for potential upgrades. The Cubs are in a playoff run, so who knows how willing they are to deal at this point. The Cubs have Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. Each is very capable of starting in the majors. Castro is currently starting at short stop and Russell is playing second base in his rookie year in the major leagues. Then there is Baez who is in AAA Iowa at the moment, and putting up decent numbers. I wrote a piece about him, check it out.
Then there are the Milwaukee Brewers, who had very high hopes for their season after last year’s impressive start to the year. They ended up falling apart in the end of the season in 2014, and that hang over has kicked in early in 2015. They currently sit 11.5 games out of first place with a record of 16-28. The franchises management is surely looking to move some players in an attempt to regroup for next season. It was already speculated that Jean Segura would be a great fit for the Padres, but he broke his pinkie finger on his throwing hand and is out indefinitely.
The Brewers have a young shortstop named Luis Sardinas whom A.J. Preller is very familiar with. Sardinas was a Texas Rangers farm hand after being signed by the team in 2009 as an amateur free agent. Preller knows Sardinas very well.
Luis Sardinas was just acquired in the off-season, along with two minor leaguers (Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan) from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Yovani Gallardo. In 115 at-bats last year in Texas, Sardinas hit .261/.303/.313. He played all over the infield with 19 games at second base, 7 games at third base and 13 games at shortstop. A very flexible young man in the field.
This season Sardinas was hitting .288 in 32 games and 132 at bats in AAA for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. After Segura broke his pinkie, Sardinas was recalled and is currently hitting .308 in 26 at bats for the Brewers. Sardinas has played 59 innings at shortstop and has failed to make an error.
The 22-year old, switch-hitting infielder is from Venezuela and his forte is defense and speed. Being that he was a product of the Texas Rangers, we already know A.J. Preller know what Sardinas brings to the game. Sardinas stole 32, 64 and 20 (plus 5 with the Rangers) in his first 3 seasons in professional baseball. That kind of speed just doesn’t grow on trees.
His knock has been his hitting, although he doesn’t have horrible numbers in the minors, he only managed five home runs in 1,500 plate appearances. He is 6-1 and 150 lbs soaking wet, but I contest that the power should come with time. He is only 22-years old after all. Even if the power doesn’t come, a solid shortstop stealing bases at the top of the order is quite valuable.
Looking more in-depth at his numbers, you will see that he doesn’t strike out that much. 203 strike outs in the 1,500 at-bats is not horrible for a young player. The lack of power is evident, but a .289 career minor league batting average is not terrible. In fact Sardinas was signed in the same J-2 Class (amateur free agent) as Jurickson Profar, and at the time was considered the better of the two, talent-wise.
So what would the Brewers want for Sardinas? That would be tough to speculate, all though the two teams could easily match-up on a potential deal. The Brewers are surely going to try to shed some salary once July 31st comes rolling around. If they could find a taker for Ryan Braun, I suspect they might consider moving him. Even Carlos Gomez could be moved if the right offer came along. The team will for sure move Aramis Ramirez and Adam Lind. Perhaps A.J. Preller could work his magic and the Padres could work a monster trade. Ramirez and Lind could be of interest to the team.
Aramis Ramirez has already said he is going to retire at the end of the year. He had a horrible start to the season, but recently turned it on a bit. Lind has hit well this season with a .287 batting average and seven home runs with 19 RBI’s. He is however very fragile and it’s surprising that he ahs made it this far on a National League team without hurting himself. Probably not the best option for the Padres, but you never know. Lind is making $7.5 million this season with an $8 million dollar option. Sounds like a second coming of Carlos Quentin, forget I even mentioned his name.
The obvious interest for the Padres is the shortstop depth the Brewers have. In addition to Segura and Sardinas the Brewers have Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera who are more than capable of handling the position. I suspect a deal will be coming very soon for the Padres. Middlebrooks at shortstop might be okay for a week or so, but for the long road?
The Brewers could have interest in Rymer Liriano. He could offer a nice replacement if the team were to move Braun or Gomez. Case Kelly could also interest the Brewers, as they are always on the lookout for a young pitcher. Tommy Medica could also interest the Brewers, but again this is just speculation. We are well aware of the Padres needs, it is just a matter if the Brewers are willing to make a deal.