San Diego Padres: Successfully Filling Alexi Amarista’s Void
Thanks to the extensions of Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte, the San Diego Padres have enough quality utility options to adequately fill the void left by the absence of Alexi Amarista.
Even though Alexi Amarista was a mediocre every day shortstop, many San Diego Padres fans were concerned when the 27-year-old moved to Colorado in free agency. Without one of the most critical positions on the field filled, what were the Padres to do?
Luis Sardinas had been playing much better toward the end of 2016, but is still inexperienced. To put the entire weight of the shortstop position on the 23-year-old’s shoulders was far from ideal.
San Diego did select Allen Cordoba in the Rule 5 Draft, but in all likelihood, it will be Sardinas every day. Now, the circumstances are the same, yet completely different.
The bottom line is, everything changed for the better with the extensions of Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte. With both of the corners solidified, the rest of the infield can fill any void which may pop up during the season by committee.
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The thin infield was a concern coming into the offseason, but Solarte’s extension especially allows fans to breathe much easier. With rumors surfacing that Ryan Schimpf would be moved to third if Solarte was not brought back, the extension allows Schimpf to remain at his natural second base position.
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The domino effect then continues, as Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje, assuming they don’t win the starting job at second base, are flexible. Spangenberg has played major league games at both second and third base, making him an option to back up Solarte or Schimpf. Asuaje has also played third and second, as well as some short. He too can serve as a utility infielder now that the corners are solidified.
In fact, this will all eventually work in the club’s favor. After all, having Asuaje play a utility role will prepare the promising infielder for a possible future every day role. Fans see Asuaje as one of the brighter young stars of the organization, and could easily see him becoming a face of the franchise at some point. While being protected as a utility player, Asuaje can develop without being under too much pressure.
If nothing else, the flexibility the Padres now have on the infield alleviates some of the pressure from the promising young players who currently occupy these positions. All of this stems from the turning point of the offseason, which was when A.J. Preller and San Diego opened their pocketbook and brought back Myers and Solarte. As a result, the infield is a whole lot more secure.