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Inbox: What happens with outfield logjam?

Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers fans' questions
MLB.com @AJCassavell

The Padres have too many outfielders and not enough spots when they're all healthy. Something's got to give, right?
-- Nick R., Santee, Calif.

Something's going to give, and it's going to happen soon. Hunter Renfroe is slated to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Thursday. Already this season, Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero, Travis Jankowski, Matt Szczur, Franmil Reyes and Jose Pirela have seen time in the outfield. Myers and Renfroe are currently on the disabled list, and it's still a crowded group.

The Padres have too many outfielders and not enough spots when they're all healthy. Something's got to give, right?
-- Nick R., Santee, Calif.

Something's going to give, and it's going to happen soon. Hunter Renfroe is slated to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Thursday. Already this season, Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero, Travis Jankowski, Matt Szczur, Franmil Reyes and Jose Pirela have seen time in the outfield. Myers and Renfroe are currently on the disabled list, and it's still a crowded group.

I don't think the Padres know what's going to give just yet. They have ideas. Myers is going nowhere. Margot and Cordero are 23, and they're not trade bait (though if they slump, they're candidates to be optioned to Triple-A). Jankowski, Renfroe and Pirela have been the subject of trade chatter before, and their names will almost certainly pop up at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

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Right now, it's probably a competition among Margot, Jankowski, Cordero and the newly recalled Reyes to avoid a demotion when Renfroe is recalled. (The Padres want to make sure all of them get regular at-bats, meaning they'd be content to leave Szczur as their fifth outfielder.) Then, when Myers returns -- likely sometime in June -- they'll have a better idea of what they have in their outfield. That's when the trade speculation will almost certainly heat up.

Does Pirela have any trade value at this point in the season? What are the Padres' plans for him once Luis Urias comes up?
-- Colton, Los Angeles

No doubt, Pirela's trade value has plummeted since the start of the year, given his .664 OPS. That doesn't mean it's down to nothing. Pirela's versatility could be valued by a contending club. And if he can boost his power numbers a bit, Pirela could be a useful right-handed bench bat to face left-handed pitching.

That being said, a Pirela trade certainly isn't imminent. Urias' arrival might be (though he's probably looking at a short wait). When Urias arrives, there would seem to be little room for Pirela.

That makes this stretch a pivotal one for Pirela. If he finds a way out of his funk, he's a useful piece to move between second and left (while Urias plays second and some short). That also makes Pirela trade bait. If he continues to slump, he'll find himself buried on the bench.

Kazuhisa Makita seems very hittable, especially after a team has seen him more than once. How much longer will he be around before the Padres cut their losses on him?
-- David L., San Diego

It's hard to envision the Padres giving up on Makita, given their two-year investment in him, and the fact that he has options and can be sent to the Minors. That said, the Makita experiment has not gone well. In 15 appearances this season, the sidearming right-hander owns a 7.94 ERA.

There was belief that his quirky submarine-style delivery might play well. Unlike most sidearmers, Makita attacks the top of the strike zone, and the Padres hoped the plane of his fastball would be tricky on opposing swing planes, given the recent trend toward uppercuts.

It's still possible that theory is true for certain hitters. But it's clearly not as widespread as the club had hoped. Moving forward, the Padres might need to better identify the right matchups for Makita and perhaps refine him to those situations. The rest of the league seems to be squaring him up at will.

Who will we see in a Padres uniform first -- Fernando Tatis Jr. or Cal Quantrill?
-- Eddie D.

Ranked as the Padres' No. 1 and No. 4 prospects, respectively, Tatis and Quantrill arrived in San Diego within 10 days of each other in June 2016 -- Tatis via trade, and Quantrill via the Draft. Together, they're a testament to San Diego's complete overhaul of its farm system in '16 -- a system that's now rated as baseball's best by MLB Pipeline.

So, who will be playing in San Diego first? It's close, but I'll take Tatis. He's starting to turn things around at Double-A San Antonio. Barring an injury or a complete flop, Tatis should warrant a September callup, if only for his first taste of the bigs.

I'm less confident the same thing will happen for Quantrill. He's been lumped in with Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer as college pitchers from that 2016 Draft class. That's an unfair comparison, given Quantrill's Tommy John surgery during college. He's thrown far fewer professional innings than either Lucchesi or Lauer. If Quantrill earns his way into the big league rotation with his performance, the Padres wouldn't say no. If he doesn't, he won't receive a courtesy callup. It's more likely he'll get shut down in September in preparation for 2019.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

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