This is where we gather from time to time to talk about something big in the Padres world or just the Padres or just baseball. It’s a roundtable discussion. Except, you know, no round tables. This is a Public House . . . so we’re at the bar.
With recent injuries to Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin the organization’s depth is being tested early and often. Fortunately it is only March, but as the Padres push towards opening day, a legitimate question presents itself:
Who can the Padres least afford to lose in 2014?
Ghost of Ray Kroc
Vocal Minority – Nate
Will Venable. With Maybin out for a good chunk of the year, Venable will need to step in and play just about every day in CF. Without him, the team would be looking at Rey Fuentes and Alexi Amarista in center, and as much as I like Fuentes, that would likely be fairly disastrous. They also need Venable to continue to be the guy he became in 2013 without significant regression, but that’s another story.
Avenging Jack Murphy – AJM
Everth Cabrera would be the easy choice as we saw what happened to the team when he missed time with a pulled hamstring in 2013. It’s so easy in fact, that I have no choice but to go with Cabby! He showed an ability to get on base at a higher rate in ’13 and he started to make the routine plays in the field too. The loss of Everth Cabrera would be devastating for a pitching staff that will rely heavily on defense in 2014.
The Sacrifice Bunt – Dustin
It’s tempting to go with an up-the-middle budding star like Jedd Gyorko or Everth Cabrera, but I’ll side with Andrew Cashner here. While the Padres have plenty of starting pitching depth, there are question marks all over the rotation. Can Ian Kennedy rebound from last year’s disaster? Can Josh Johnson stay healthy/effective? Can Tyson Ross and Eric Stults build on their collective 2013 performance? If a couple of those answers are “no,” the rotation suddenly becomes a liability. The Padres can get by without Cashner, but everything would have to break just right. Hopefully, he’s able to put shoulder issues further out of mind and break the 200-innings barrier for the first time in his career.
Ghost of Ray Kroc
Like Nate, I’m going with Venable. I don’t know if I can handle another season of watching Amarista running around the outfield in circles. If Venable goes down, at best Norf will get the majority of time in center, with Kyle Blanks likely getting into right. That’s a corner outfielder in center and a first baseman in right field. At best.
The Sacrifice Bunt – Mel
I’ll agree with the Avenger on this one, production at shortstop drops off the most when Everth Cabrera is replaced by the next best player on the Padres’ roster. Be it Ryan Jackson‘s projected ~70 wRC+ next year or Alexi Amarista‘s slightly less bad hitting combined without much defensive value at shortstop, the alternatives are not inspiring.
Vocal Minority – David
I think it’s Will Venable, though I’ve already decided it was Cabrera once and came back to Venable. At first glance, you say Venable goes down Chris Denorfia hops in and your outfield becomes Quentin/Norf/Smith. Which isn’t exactly what you want, but it’s not atrocious. Certainly better than how the infield looks if Cabrera were to miss significant time. When you consider Quentin’s inevitable DL stint, your outfield likely becomes Blanks/Norf/Smith or Smith/Fuentes/Norf…
Actually, that’s still better than what would be replacing Cabrera. Damn it.
And the argument for Cashner isn’t bad, either.
This team is a house of cards.
RJ’s Fro – Rick
I was going to say Effren Cabrera as well. He adds a spark to the lineup that no one else can and the replacements are severely lacking.
Pull up a stool and lament the hypothetical loss of players with us . . .