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Inbox: How San Diego's 40-man roster shake out?

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

SAN DIEGO -- It's going to be an eventful offseason in San Diego. That much was made very clear by your questions in this week's Padres Inbox.

Decisions loom in the infield, in the outfield and on the 40-man roster as a whole. As the 2018 season enters the home stretch, the competition for those places has already come to the forefront.

SAN DIEGO -- It's going to be an eventful offseason in San Diego. That much was made very clear by your questions in this week's Padres Inbox.

Decisions loom in the infield, in the outfield and on the 40-man roster as a whole. As the 2018 season enters the home stretch, the competition for those places has already come to the forefront.

Do you think next year we will see significant roster changes? Or should we expect more of the same with Jose Pirela, Carlos Asuaje, Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg?
-- Miguel E.

I'd expect change -- and nowhere more so than in the infield. Top prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias factor squarely into the Padres' roster plans this offseason. They're a critical part of the club's future, and the long-term infield is built around them. That leaves the current group to fight for their jobs.

The four cases mentioned above are all very different. A player of Spangenberg's ilk can be a useful piece on a big league roster (especially if he adds backup shortstop to his resume). Spangenberg is a lefty bat who can play multiple positions, and he's a great speed option.

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Villanueva can play a few positions, too, though none particularly well. He remains an unproven commodity. His power makes him intriguing, but his low OBP and high chase rate raise red flags. Asuaje and Pirela, meanwhile, look to be fringe options at best.

San Diego would need to trim its roster in November if it wants to add prospects before the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in December. I suspect one of those four names will be left off. The other three will need to be much better in order to get regular playing time in 2019.

Who do you think will be the highest-ranked prospect left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft?
-- Arman K., Chicago

No doubt, there are tricky decisions to be made ahead of the deadline for 40-man rosters to be set. The Padres have already promoted three Rule 5-eligible players in recent weeks: Jacob Nix, Brett Kennedy and Trey Wingenter. Among their Top 30 Prospects, they still need to add second baseman Luis Urias (No. 4), right-hander Chris Paddack (No. 5), right-hander Anderson Espinoza (No. 11), catcher Austin Allen (No. 25), outfielder Edward Olivares (No. 28) and right-hander Pedro Avila.

It's a roster crunch, sure. But it's not an unsolvable puzzle. San Diego is nearly 30 games under .500. On a subpar big league club, there are pieces that won't be back next season. I suspect there will be plenty of room for general manager A.J. Preller to add as many top prospects as he'd like.

All six of the names mentioned above are likely to be added. (Olivares and Avila are the only two cases where that's even still a question.) The most intriguing name might be former Top 30 Prospect Michael Gettys, who owns a .238/.296/.418 slash line for Double-A San Antonio. Gettys isn't close to being big league-ready at the plate. But as a speed-and-defense type, there might be a spot for him somewhere as a backup outfielder. I'd guess the Padres take that chance and leave him unprotected.

With the great glove from Freddy Galvis and his young age, do you see the Padres signing him for a longer period this offseason, moving Fernando Tatis Jr. to third base?
-- Manuel H., Mexicali, Mexico

I can assure you, the Padres will have interest in bringing Galvis back. But they also have leverage. If Galvis' asking price is too high, they're content to move on, given that both Tatis and Urias can play short. Heck, they might give Javy Guerra a look.

Tatis' value is clearly highest when he's playing shortstop, and the organization feels he's perfectly capable defensively. He's also never played above Double-A, and it's doubtful he'll make the big league roster out of camp next spring.

That means Preller will probably sign a shortstop in the offseason, whether it's Galvis or another stopgap. I'd still expect Tatis to take over the position eventually. If Galvis re-signs, maybe Tatis will see time at both spots when he's called up, before eventually taking over at short.

Where is Franchy Cordero playing when he gets healthy?
-- Colby R., Lincoln, Neb.

We've already given the Padres' 2019 infield a thorough assessment. Let's tackle the outfield, too. Cordero is out for the season after surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. But he'll almost certainly play winter ball and be ready for the start of the '19 season.

Given his tools -- and his left-handed bat -- there's an obvious place for Cordero on San Diego's roster. If he returns to his April form, it's a safe bet he'd be a regular starter against right-handed pitching. Chances are, Cordero would rotate between left field and center.

Manuel Margot is the Padres' projected starter in center. Wil Myers might split time between third base and left. Cordero, Travis Jankowski and Hunter Renfroe are the likeliest outfield options to fill out the roster, with Franmil Reyes bringing some depth. In that mix, there are plenty of at-bats to go around for a power-hitting lefty like Cordero.

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

San Diego Padres