SAN DIEGO — The offseason is younger. Greater than two months stay till pitchers and catchers report — greater than two months for basic supervisor A.J. Preller to additional shake issues up in San Diego.
As such, staff officers aren’t fairly able to make declarative statements about which gamers would possibly swap positions subsequent season.
However this a lot is evident: The Xander Bogaerts signing modifications issues in an enormous manner.
At a Friday afternoon press conference to introduce Bogaerts, Preller was adamant that the puzzle items will match — even when it means place modifications are anticipated for a handful of superstars.
“It is not haphazard,” mentioned Preller, who confirmed Bogaerts will play shortstop in 2023. “We have talked about it. We now have a basic sense of what we will attempt to do. … The widespread theme with all the blokes we have talked to to this point is we need to win. We now have some actually gifted, versatile gamers, and we will use that right here as we go into subsequent yr.”
These conversations have begun. Preller and supervisor Bob Melvin spent the previous couple of days chatting with their gamers in regards to the affect of the Bogaerts signing. (They even had a Zoom name with Kim slated for shortly after Bogaerts’ presser.)
However the greatest positional domino to fall is Tatis, who, two offseasons in the past, signed a record-setting 14-year deal to be the Padres’ shortstop of the longer term. That is now not the case. All of a sudden, it seems Tatis could possibly be set for a full-time shift to the outfield.
“He might play anyplace,” Melvin mentioned. “I imply, I am not going to place him behind the plate. However he might play anyplace, in most likely any sport. He is as athletic and gifted a man as there’s within the recreation. He is the kind of man that is going to fill any gap.”
Nonetheless, Tatis has at all times made it clear he views himself as a shortstop. Even Bogaerts famous that his presence in San Diego got here as one thing of a shock.
“San Diego was my first All-Star Recreation again in 2016,” Bogaerts mentioned. “So I undoubtedly envisioned myself perhaps being right here someday. However after they acquired Tatis, I used to be slightly uncertain. I used to be like, ‘That doesn’t match.’ However right here I’m. It’s loopy how the world works.”
Tatis has evidently softened his shortstop-or-bust stance. Final yr, earlier than his suspension, the Padres had been anticipating Tatis to play each shortstop and outfield, permitting them to platoon Kim and heart fielder Trent Grisham. Now Tatis gained’t return till mid-April, after testing optimistic for a performance-enhancing substance.
“He simply needs to play, and he needs to win,” mentioned Melvin. “We’ll work out what the staff seems to be like on the sector as we go alongside. Like I mentioned, the offseason continues to be happening.”
Certainly, the rest of the offseason will dictate the Padres’ actual plans for Tatis. Have been they so as to add a nook outfielder, Tatis might get the majority of his reps in heart. Grisham is a two-time Gold Glover however struggled final season on the plate.
In any other case, Tatis would presumably shift to proper. Soto has spent the majority of his profession there. However proper subject at Petco Park is much extra spacious than left, and Tatis’ elite athleticism might play properly. As for Soto?
“Both proper or left subject, he is performed each,” Preller mentioned. “That is one other piece, a man that is had expertise enjoying both nook. He’ll know the place he will play and lock in at one spot. We’ll see how the remainder of the offseason goes earlier than we’ve got that dialog.”
The infield dynamic is equally tough. Kim was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop. Cronenworth was a Gold Glove finalist at second. Each will likely be requested to play elsewhere.
However Kim has already confirmed himself an impressive defensive second baseman. Similar for Cronenworth at first. Have been the Padres to signal a primary baseman — nonetheless a definite chance — there will likely be additional positional inquiries to ask. However the emptiness at designated hitter helps mitigate that infield logjam.
“Croney has the flexibility clearly at second and first,” Preller mentioned. “… Ha-Seong enjoying any of the infield spots, Tati infield or outfield — we will see how the following couple weeks go, from a roster standpoint, and see what we’re left with.”