The Padres have a lot of flexibility this offseason when it comes to their veteran players. Which one currently on their roster should they make their top priority to re-sign?
The San Diego Padres are one of the youngest teams in all of major league baseball. And as this offseason approaches, it is very possible that they are about to get a lot younger.
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The only player on San Diego’s roster thirty years of age or older who is signed through 2017 is infielder Brett Wallace. Fortunately though, the team has options to re-sign three veterans who will be willing to listen to general manager A.J. Preller’s offers.
It is debatable whether or not San Diego actually needs a veteran player, being a team whose primary goal is to set up for a bright future. But most will argue that it is beneficial to have at least one or two veteran voices in the clubhouse to help guide the ambitious young talent.
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Villanueva is the only veteran pitcher from 2016. Pitching in 51 games last season, the right-handed reliever pitched 74 innings and posted a 5.96 ERA. Even if Villanueva is an older player who can teach a younger bullpen, chances are he wouldn’t contribute a whole lot if re-signed. It seems it would be best for the organization to move forward.
Rosales hit just .229 in 248 plate appearances for San Diego, and made $800,000 last year. If Preller were to sign the 33-year-old versatile infielder, he should only be signing him due to his versatility. It seems though that Rosales would be a better fit for a different team, and that re-signing him should not be a major priority of the Padres.
But Jay is a different story. The 31-year-old outfielder spent his first season with the team last year, hitting .291 over 90 games, recording 101 hits. Jay’s spot in the order was one of the more productive ones for part of 2016, but what he brings most is experience. With the St. Louis Cardinals, Jay participated in several postseasons and a World Series title. While the Padres probably aren’t going to experience this in the next several seasons, this experience is still valuable for a young team.
The only problem with Jay is that he will cost the organization a lot as they seek to come to terms. The last two seasons, even after his prime, Jay made approximately 5.5 million dollars a year. This large contract will not dramatically decrease if the Padres wish to keep Jay.
Still, it would be beneficial to have a true veteran who has seen it all. Jay is that player, as he just does all of the right things. Not to say that it wouldn’t be valuable for this organization to go after Villanueva or Rosales, but they shouldn’t be the franchise’s top priority. Jay should be though, as the Padres must have a veteran presence in the clubhouse as they proceed in their rebuild.