PEORIA, Ariz. -- Thirteen months ago, the Padres hosted a news conference at Petco Park in which they unveiled their first baseman of the future. Earlier that day, William Myers put pen to paper on a massive multiyear contract. And he was presumed to be the anchor at that position
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Thirteen months ago, the Padres hosted a news conference at Petco Park in which they unveiled their first baseman of the future. Earlier that day, William Myers put pen to paper on a massive multiyear contract. And he was presumed to be the anchor at that position for half a dozen years.
Enter Eric Hosmer, who finalized an eight-year deal on Tuesday.
First and foremost, Myers will move to the outfield, and he began taking reps in right field Sunday when he arrived in camp. In November, general manager A.J. Preller phoned his then-first baseman, asking whether he'd be willing to switch positions. Myers, thrilled at the prospect of acquiring one of the game's top free agents, gladly agreed.
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"I would rather have a guy like that here than to play first base," Myers said, later adding, "I don't think it's going to be that difficult to learn that position again. I've played there plenty of times. I feel like the adjustment will be pretty easy."
They haven't settled on whether Myers will be in left field or right field, but he'll begin camp in right, where he's a bit more comfortable from his time with Tampa Bay. Myers arrived in Peoria on Sunday having added 20 pounds of muscle after the club asked him to bulk up during the offseason.
There's work ahead for Myers, who was subpar defensively from 2013-15. But the majority of his struggles came during a '15 experiment that placed him in center field. The Padres think he's more than capable in one of the corner spots. As the Padres considered the Hosmer signing this offseason, skipper Andy Green watched every fly ball hit in Myers' direction from '14, and he came away with that conclusion.
"He's as athletic as anybody in Major League Baseball," Green said. "You don't hit 30 home runs and steal 20-plus bases if you're not. He can fly. … He's got plenty enough speed to play literally anywhere on the baseball field. I don't think anything's going to be a real challenge for him that way."
Suddenly, that leaves Jose Pirela and Hunter Renfroe locked in a battle for one spot. It's a tricky proposition.
Without question, Pirela is coming off a better season. He batted .288/.347/.490 and was arguably San Diego's best hitter. But Renfroe is two years younger and was one of the organization's top prospects ahead of his rookie campaign last year. Despite his on-base woes, Renfroe's power can be game-changing, and the club certainly isn't ready to cast him aside.
There could be a simpler solution. Earlier this month, Green hinted at giving Pirela some reps at second base, where he played from 2014-16.
Pirela's defense at second was suspect, however, and that initially prompted his move to the outfield. As it stands, the Padres currently have a pair of left-handed-hitting second basemen -- Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje -- already battling for that job.
"It's good for our culture, it's good for our clubhouse for guys to know, 'I've got to perform if I want to play for the Padres, because if not, there's somebody else right there knocking on the door waiting to come.'" Green said. "The more competitive we can make it to get at-bats on the roster, the better of a club we're going to be."
Perhaps it's likeliest the Padres opt to use Pirela at second against left-handed pitchers, while he otherwise splits time with Renfroe in the outfield. A team source noted that a trade remains possible, too, though nothing specific has yet been discussed. (Pirela, coming off a career year, would appear to be the likeliest candidate.)
In any case, the Padres clearly have a few roster-based questions to answer before they break camp in late March. With Hosmer on board, it's a problem they are happy to have.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.