Padres' 3B experiment with Myers is over

Slugger confirms he's headed back to the outfield at FanFest

January 12th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- is a full-time outfielder once again.

The Padres slugger confirmed as much on Saturday during his media session from the team's FanFest at Petco Park. Myers spent the final month and a half of the 2018 season at third base, as the club looked for an effective way to work him, and into the lineup at the same time.

But that third-base experiment is effectively over, leaving the Padres with a glut of outfielders -- especially in the corners. Six players on the active roster have spent time as regular starters in San Diego's outfield over the past two seasons (along with Myers, Renfroe and Reyes, , and have also done so).

It's unlikely that the Padres will break camp with all six on the active roster, and Myers' move back to the outfield seems to increase the chances of a trade over the next few weeks.

Still, at the Winter Meetings last month, general manager A.J. Preller left open the possibility that he might stand pat.

"We like the group we have," Preller said. "We have depth, we have versatility, we have some guys with options. That gives us flexibility. We have some left-handed bats, defenders, some power. We saw last year: You think you maybe have an excess or an overabundance at one spot -- and then a couple of injuries later, you're searching for guys. We don't take that lightly. ... And you're creating competition, which is something we've pushed here, in general, the last few years."

If, ultimately, the Padres decide to make a trade, there's a good chance either Myers, Renfroe or Reyes will be dealt. They're all righty-hitting corner outfielders with similar power profiles. There really isn't room for all three -- especially given that the lefty-hitting Cordero and Jankowski can play all three spots, as well.

That logjam was precisely why the Padres decided to test Myers at third base last summer. He got off to a fast start, recording eight assists in his third-base debut -- one shy of a team record.

But Myers struggled mightily after that. He committed six errors in 324 innings, and he made at least twice as many obvious misplays.

Those struggles probably should have been expected, given Myers had only begun working at third base a few weeks prior. But they were glaring enough that the Padres didn't renew the experiment.

Myers could still play third base on occasion, should a particular game situation necessitate it. But he's spoken about his desire to find a home defensively, and it appears he finally has. Myers played 41 games in the outfield last season, where he was worth seven defensive runs saved.

Myers posted a .253/.318/.446 slash line in 2018, though he missed approximately half the season with various injuries. His move to third base was the latest in a long line of position switches for Myers throughout his career.

He's clearly best suited for a corner-outfield job, but upon his arrival in San Diego in 2015, he spent part of a season in center field -- where he struggled. The following season, Myers was moved to first base, where he posted excellent defensive numbers before regressing the following campaign.

When signed in February, Myers transitioned back to the outfield -- a stint that lasted just four months before his brief time at third. Now, it appears, Myers is headed back to the outfield to stay.