Notes: Versatile bench, Lamet's early test

February 23rd, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In the eyes of Padres decision makers, there was no point building a deep roster this offseason if they didn't also build a versatile one.

The goal was to weather any storm -- to field a relentless lineup, regardless of who wasn't available on a given day.

The signings of and went a long way toward accomplishing that goal -- and not merely because of the obvious. Yes, Profar and Kim are valuable offensive pieces who would start on other big league clubs. But they're also two of the sport's most versatile weapons, and they give the Padres an array of options when they game-plan offensively each day.

"It gives us a lot of flexibility," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. "It gives us flexibility in-game to be able to make moves or decisions. It gives us flexibility in case we have somebody or two guys go down for whatever reason."

Consider this: The Padres probably need only three bench players to cover backups at all eight of their starting spots.

Profar can play all three outfield positions, and he'll get an extended look in center field during Spring Training. If he can handle backup duties there, he might get a few starts against tough left-handers, giving a day off.

Profar also can play first and second base, when needed, but he might not be needed. That's because the Padres have arguably the most dynamic infield in baseball.

Their 2020 quartet of , , and qualified as the most valuable in the sport. Now, they've added Kim to that mix. Kim theoretically could serve in a second-base platoon with Cronenworth (though he'll need to earn those at-bats first).

Kim also played shortstop and third base in Korea. Cronenworth can play all four infield spots. Catcher can slide to first, second or third in a pinch, too. Considering that level of infield depth, both Kim and Cronenworth are expected to see time left field later this spring.

At least one place on the Padres’ bench remains open, and considering their unique blend of utility men, they can fill it however they please. Among the contenders for that final spot: infielder/outfielder , infielder/outfielder , catcher and outfielder .

Worth noting
• The main event from Padres camp on Tuesday was a bullpen session featuring and . Lamet ended his session with five consecutive sliders -- a positive sign as he works his way back from an arm injury that kept him out of the postseason last year.

The Padres are optimistic that Lamet avoided major injury by shutting things down when he did. But he still has a few hurdles to clear -- building back his wipeout slider the most noteworthy among them. The early returns are encouraging.

Related

• Profar has yet to arrive at camp because of "a visa situation," Tingler said, though the Padres’ skipper added that he isn't too concerned. Profar is expected to arrive later this week and should get into workouts this weekend after his physical and COVID-19 intake screening.

• Along with Profar, Tingler mentioned some other options for the backup center-field role, among them: O'Grady, Mateo and -- curiously -- . Pham hasn't played center field with any regularity since 2017 with St. Louis. But what’s Spring Training for, if not for experimenting?