Do the San Diego Padres want him back? That is the real question.
There are a few scenarios to look at here.
Positives to Re-Signing Jay
So if Jay is re-signed, what is the outfield going to look like? Well, essentially every one of the players named above are still unproven. Jankoswki has been around for a little while and has shown a flash of potential, but the rest may be facing some growing pains.
Renfroe and Margot already look like studs, but they both have only played a little under two weeks in the majors and who knows how they’ll adjust to the rigors of a 162 game season. That remains to be seen. Dickerson has looked good at times but hasn’t necessarily proven his case as a full time starter. Blash still has a lot to prove. Jay is the only one who has experience as an everyday starter over a significant amount of time.
Another thing to consider is that the Padres may make some moves in the off-season that send one or more of the current outfielders elsewhere. It’s apparent to me that the team desperately needs some starting pitching if they want to even try to compete in 2017. What trade chips do they have? (Other than top prospects, which in my fantasy world I don’t even consider touching) Maybe one of the relievers?
Derek Norris is one name that comes to mind. But with his awful offensive season in 2016, his stock is low. Clubs may be interested in Schimpf or Spangenberg. As previously mentioned, there is some depth at second base. I really like Jankowski, but I think he may rank as a player who could bring back a valuable return on the trade market. If he goes, Jay would be a good player to have around for solid play in all three outfield spots, plus lead-off capability. I don’t foresee Margot or Renfroe going anywhere, but in the crazy scenario that they do get traded or sent down, Jay could fill those openings as well. In fact, if any of the other outfielders get traded, Jay would immediately be a smart move, becoming a fourth outfielder at the very least.
Negatives to Re-Signing Jay
There is one down side to Jay. Over the last few seasons he has been injury-prone. In 2015 with the Cardinals, Jay only played in 79 games due to a lingering wrist injury that hadn’t properly healed after surgery. In 2016 with the Padres, Jay only played in 90 games due to the wrist injury caused by getting hit by that wild pitch. While that was just a freak accident, Jay’s absence on the field was felt by the club. So maybe Jay will be too much of an injury risk? I don’t actually think so, but the last two seasons have warranted suspicion.
Could Jay re-signing with the Padres block the younger guys? Well, as I said before, we don’t really know what the younger guys are truly made of yet, so Jay may turn out to be much needed safety net. Even if the younger guys prove to be true major leaguers, Jay seems like a pretty selfless guy, and would probably assume a role as mentor and do whatever he could to help the team. Even if that meant sharing valuable playing time. He just strikes me as the type. He’s not Matt Kemp.
Well, I’ve had some time to think about whether on not the Padres should re-sign Jon Jay. A few weeks ago, I thought it would be an unnecessary move, but now, after more consideration, I think it would be a good signing. Jay would bring proven experience to the club, veteran leadership, and a safety net for a young, unproven outfield. He would provide an opportunity for the Padres to shop one or more of the other outfielders on the trade market in an attempt to improve the pitching staff. If he can be had for a reasonable price, I think the “Chief Justice” would be the right veteran for the Padres.