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Padres have several in-house outfield options

Only Margot appears to be a lock going into spring
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Manuel Margot will anchor center field for the Padres in 2018. That much seems certain enough.

The rest of the outfield is anyone's guess. The Padres enter the offseason with at least seven other outfield candidates for the 2018 roster. All seven come with serious question marks.

SAN DIEGO -- Manuel Margot will anchor center field for the Padres in 2018. That much seems certain enough.

The rest of the outfield is anyone's guess. The Padres enter the offseason with at least seven other outfield candidates for the 2018 roster. All seven come with serious question marks.

Given the wealth of options, it's hard to envision general manager A.J. Preller bringing another starting outfielder on board. The Padres have more pressing roster concerns, and they appear to have enough options in-house

With that in mind, here's a look at how the 2018 outfield might shape up.

Margot
Projection: Makes roster, starter in center field

There are two or three favorites to start in the 2018 Padres outfield. Margot is the only stone-cold lock. He was excellent in his rookie season, posting a .263/.313/.409 slash line, while starring defensively in center. Plus, Margot only just turned 23 and has plenty of room to grow -- at the plate, on the bases and in the field.

Video: WAS@SD: Margot makes terrific four-star catch

Hunter Renfroe
Projection: Makes roster, likely starter in right field

It was a roller coaster season for Renfroe, who set the club's rookie home run record (26) but struggled to reach base. His on-base percentage simply (.284) wasn't good enough, and he was demoted to Triple-A in August as a result. It's likeliest Renfroe opens the season as a starter in right field. But if he wants to maintain that spot, he'll need to improve on his .202/.244/.393 slash line against right-handed pitching.

Video: NYM@SD: Renfroe's two HRs cover 880 total feet

Jose Pirela
Projection: Makes roster, likely starter in left field

By the end of the season, Pirela had improved enough defensively to merit his status as a league-average left fielder. If he can contribute the same production at the plate in 2018, he'll almost certainly maintain his place in left field.

Video: SD@PHI: Pirela crushes 450-foot home run vs. Phillies

Alex Dickerson
Projection: Makes roster if healthy, bench

The Padres sorely missed Dickerson's bat in the middle of their order last season. Manager Andy Green called him the club's "most professional hitter" on more than one occasion. Dickerson, who has a disc protusion in his lower back, is optimistic that his back will be fully healed by Spring Training. If so, he'd make for a nice left-handed piece to rotate with righty-hitting Pirela and Renfroe.

Matt Szczur
Projection: Fringe roster candidate

Szczur is out of options, meaning there's nowhere to put him if he doesn't make the roster. The arbitration-eligible 28-year-old was more valuable than most realized last season, playing stellar defense, while posting a .358 on-base percentage in 214 plate appearances. But he'll likely be fighting for the backup center-field job with Travis Jankowski.

Video: SD@COL: Szczur leaps to make the grab at the wall

Jankowski
Projection: Fringe roster candidate

After an impressive 2016 season, it was a lost year for Jankowski, who broke a bone in his foot in the season's opening month. He returned in September, but never seemed himself. If Jankowski uses the offseason to heal fully, he could be a useful bench piece as an elite defender and speed threat. But he'll need to up his .187 batting average from last season (albeit in just 27 games). 

Franchy Cordero
Projection: Minors

Upon his May callup, Cordero seemed like a revelation. Within a couple weeks, it became clear his swing still has some major holes. Cordero's 44 percent strikeout rate won't fly in the Majors, and he could probably use a bit more Triple-A seasoning.

Video: SF@SD: Blash crushes tape-measure jack to left-center

Jabari Blash
Projection: Minors

Blash has yet to truly cash in on the opportunities he's been given in San Diego. His .323 career on-base percentage won't hurt his chances for a roster spot. But barring injury -- and, remember, Dickerson and Jankowski are still question marks -- it's more likely he serves as a Minor League depth option.

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

 

San Diego Padres, Travis Jankowski, Manuel Margot, Jose Pirela, Hunter Renfroe