The San Diego Padres have not had a clear answer at shortstop for a long time. Not since the days of Khalil Greene have the Padres had a shortstop they could rely on. Everth Cabrera, Jason Bartlett, Clint Barmes, Alexi Amarista and Alexei Ramirez have been nothing but unspectacular.
There is no clear answer in sight either as the Padres have no prospect at the position ready for major league action. They do have a bunch of young players at the position from the ages of 16-20, but none of them are close. Javier Guerra, Ruddy Giron, Luis Almanzar, Jordy Barley and Gabriel Arias provide some great depth at the position, but the team cannot realistically expect anything from this group any time soon.
There needs to be someone to bridge the gap between now and when these prospects could possibly be ready.
Recently acquired from the Mariners, Sardinas probably is the favorite at this point for the 2017 starting shortstop job. He was drafted by Preller while the G.M. was in the Rangers’ organization and obviously he has confidence in this young switch-hitting shortstop. Sardinas has great speed and is a base stealer, but he has struggled to get on base in his minor league career. In almost 2,000 minor league at bats his slash line is .285/.329/.350 with six home runs and 107 stolen bases. He has an excellent glove and decent range. The 23-year-old is in El Paso presently but you will get to see him first hand very soon.
My second favorite for the starting gig in 2017 (at this point) is Rondon. He already got his feet wet this year as the club called him up for 25 at bats and eight games. Rondon only managed three hits but did not look nearly as outmatched as I thought he would. He clearly wasn’t ready for major league pitching and the speed of the game, but at the same time he looks as though he has turned the corner with his abilities. Rondon’s numbers are similar to Sardinas as the 22-year-old has 1,800 minor league at bats with a slash line of .289/.339/.386 with 11 home runs and 72 stolen bases. He will need to play winter ball and will need to produce effectively if the club wants to consider him for the starting position in 2017.
The “Little Ninja” is clearly best suited for a utility role. He can play several positions and play them well defensively. His bat is decent, but he does strike out way too much for a player of his size. He needs to put the ball in play more in order to be more effective offensively. The Padres attempted to rely on him in an everyday role and that failed miserably. The team will likely not have Amarista start the season as the starting shortstop, as that would infuriate the fan base well beyond repair. If Amarista is going to be on the team in 2017, it will be as a utility option for the Friars.
Currently being auditioned at the position is this journeyman infielder from Poway. He has just over 100 at bats in his brief three-year major league career. In the minors the former Giants first round pick has a .267/.319/.372 batting line with 47 home runs and 83 stolen bases. He has never been an offensive force but this season in El Paso he hit .321 with four homers and 40 RBI in 308 at bats. That earned him this current look, but at 27, he is a major long shot to be productive for the team in 2017.
The 33-year-old journeyman has a 9-year major league career and has received over 1,200 at bats. He has his .223 in those at bats and that is why he is nothing more than a utility player. Rosales is currently hitting .200 for the Padres with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 165 at bats. He has struck out 67 times during that time and will not be an option for the team in 2017. He is a free agent after the year and despite his great club house presence, Rosales will be playing for another club next year.
The Padres hold a 2017 option on Ramirez at $4-million dollars. They will surely pay him the $1-million dollar buyout and move on from the infielder. There are even reports that Ramirez will be cut from the team very soon and the team is likely having internal discussions about that fact. He could be dealt soon as well if the team can find a taker before the August waiver period ends. He will not be in the Padres plan for 2017.
Not much to choose from as far as this group is concerned. Sardinas will probably be given a decent look real soon. He is the only one on this list who could be an everyday option at this point. Rondon also could be but he needs a little more seasoning to be expected to perform in 2017. The rest are utility type players that cannot be counted on. The reality is the Padres have a huge hole at shortstop. Perhaps there are some answers on the free agent market. Let us explore.
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