It has been reported that upgrading the third base position is the San Diego Padres top priority for the winter. The Padres have explored many different possible scenarios for the hot corner in 2019. Here is an extensive look at the position and what options the team has:
In 2018, the San Diego Padres saw many changes at the third base position.
Christian Villanueva started out the season like a house on fire, slugging 15 homers in his first 49 games.
Despite hitting seven homers in May, he batted .170 for the month and his numbers kept diminishing consistently. Villanueva finished the year with 20 homers, but showed a huge hole in his swing – something that could not be fixed. He will be playing the coming year in Japan.
Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg saw time at the position as well, but both were released by the team this winter. Late in the 2018 season, the Padres made a daring decision in regard to the position. Wil Myers was allowed to play third base, and he did so on an everyday basis.
The result of Myers at third base was not favorable. He may still factor there in 2019, but at this point, the team seems to be actively looking for someone to play the position.
Let us first look internally at the Padres’ options:
Myers played 36 games at the position in 2018 and committed six errors. He was robotic in his actions, a bit clumsy, and continued to backhand ground balls at an alarming rate. Myers was able to play third, but you could tell he was not comfortable there. He never complained and played yet another position for the team (his fifth) in his tenure with the team. That is valuable, but at what point will he be allowed to just stay at a defensive position?
The Padres are supposedly going to make a decision soon in regard to Myers. They want to give him a heads up on where he will be playing in 2019. There is still a chance he sticks at third base, so do not erase that thought from your mind. With preparation, can Myers be a serviceable player at a pivotal position on the diamond? That really remains to be seen.
The former SDSD Aztec had a very productive 2018 season where he produced a .819 OPS in 137 total games between Triple-A and Double-A. The most impressive thing is that he recorded a .914 OPS in 25 games for the El Paso Chihuahuas. He is a corner infielder who is more than capable of playing third base.
Can France hit major league pitching? That is the million dollar question. The answer will come this year as France has an excellent chance to see plenty of major league action this summer. He has a smooth swing and has no problems making contact. The power came this past season, which is nice as he was regarded as a gap-power player previous to 2018. The 24-year-old puts forth a great effort on a nightly basis and will easily be a fan favorite.
Versatility is Garcia’s forte, so he will probably be used more as a utility option than anything else. There is a chance that he gets plenty of time at third base, but if that happens, it would be in a backup role. The Padres did not pick up Garcia for him to be an everyday starter.
Last year, in 181 at-bats, he put up a .613 OPS. He has a career OPS of .696 in 700 major league at-bats and is clearly a utility option. At 29, Garcia is nothing more than a fill-in. The El Cajon native might be a sentimental favorite, but he will need a productive spring to even make this club in March.
The 25-year-old left-handed hitter hit 23 homers between Double-A and Triple-A for the Cubs in 2018. He was acquired from Chicago for Rowan Wick and could be a factor for the club in 2019. Vosler is a decent defender, but could use some adjusting with his swing. It is a bit long presently.
If he has a nice spring, there is a chance he makes the team. He would need to show some versatility and would also need to be added to the 40-man roster. At the very least, he provides some nice depth for the team at the El Paso level.
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