Ian Kinsler is struggling, and as his woes continue it seems more and more likely the San Diego Padres will have to turn their attention to someone else at the second base position.
When the San Diego Padres signed Ian Kinsler to a two-year deal this winter, most fans were surprised.
At the time, the team needed a third baseman, so there was the initial thought that he would play there. That all changed as Manny Machado was signed by the Padres. Heading into the spring, it was made clear by manager Andy Green that Kinsler would be the teams’ starting second baseman. The Padres needed a veteran presence, but Luis Urias was called up late in the 2018 season and showed some skill at the position. The 21-year-old is a highly regarded prospect and arguably ready for major league service time. Where did this signing leave him?
Ian Kinsler simply has not performed. His .171/.230/.316 slash line is horrible. He is currently at a .546 OPS which is tied for second lowest in the majors. The veteran has also produced a 52 wRC+ which is the fifth worst in the whole league. His -0.8 fWAR is also simply unacceptable. The Padres need someone to produce at second base and especially at the leadoff position where Kinsler finds himself on most days.
In the last few weeks, playing time has increased for Greg Garcia at second base and that is a bad sign for Kinsler. The Padres are losing patience with the veteran and his inability to get on base. One thing is bringing a positive clubhouse influence, but the team needs results too.
There are options for the Padres if they choose to move on from Kinsler.
The former SDSU product has shown the ability to play the position at the Triple-A level. He failed to commit an error this season at second in limited opportunities. France is currently getting his feet wet at the major league level and has performed well. He might have some issues at the keystone in terms of footwork, but the right-handed hitter would be an offensive boost in a position that has been a burden for the Padres.
Urias makes the most sense as an everyday option for the team moving forward. The high leg kick with his swing is a bit concerning, but he has shown great power in the PCL this spring. At 21, Urias is ready to be a major leaguer. He has proven all he can at the Triple-A level, and it is a matter of time before he is given consistent at-bats at the major league level. Urias is the fan favorite and most certainly has the most upside of this entire group.
Signed this winter out of Mexico, this infielder has been very impressive in his time at the Triple-A level. He has yet to make his major league debut, but you have to figure it is a matter of time for “Pony” Quiroz. The left-handed hitter has pretty decent power despite not being a big man. He can play all over the infield but seems best suited as a second baseman moving forward. He is 27 so you cannot consider him a young prospect. Quiroz deserves a shot to prove his worth.
All and all, time is running out for Ian Kinsler. He will need to perform or will be released. The Padres have options at the position. The coaching staff and baseball operations department needs to evaluate these men in major league games. France, Urias, and Quiroz are all capable of performing. For Ian Kinsler, it is put up or shut up time.