Padres spring training primer: Outfielders
BY JEFF SANDERS – To get you prepped for the Padres’ abbreviated spring training, we’re taking a deep dive into each corner of the organization. Tuesday, we profiled the club’s infielders. Up next, the Padres’ outfielders:
This group gave the Padres a Gold Glove, an All-Star and a presence in MVP voting. The problem is Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trent Grisham were rarely on the same page as the most expensive team in franchise history somehow missed the playoffs altogether.
Both Soto and Grisham were traded to the Yankees in a deal that netted four arms, a backup catcher and financial flexibility.
Thing is, the Padres have yet to really use any of that flexibility outside of adding three bullpen arms. The outfield remains the team’s most glaring need as Tatis, signed to a long-term deal, and backup Jose Azocar are the only outfielders on the 40-man roster.
Though there are free agents still to be had, long-term, the team is clearly banking on Tatis returning to form and some of their minor leaguers and low-risk investments to hit.
The team landed minor leaguer Drew Campbell (.712 OPS at Double-A) in the Matt Carpenter salary dump, but he was not among the outfielders invited to big-league camp. That non-roster invitee list to date consists of minor-league signees Bryce Johnson, Oscar Mercado, Cal Mitchell and Robert Perez Jr., as well as a number of names from down on the farm…
The most intriguing of those prospects who would not require a position change is 2022 sixth-rounder Jakob Marsee, who capped his first full year in the organization with MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League (5 homers, 1.215 OPS). The 22-year-old, however, has just 69 plate appearances above High-A.