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4 key needs for Padres before Spring Training

December 20, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- By A.J. Preller's lofty standards, it's been a very slow offseason.The Padres' general manager added Ian Kinsler and Garrett Richards in December, and he made a handful of Minor League transactions. But he's done little else this winter, and the San Diego roster still has quite a

SAN DIEGO -- By A.J. Preller's lofty standards, it's been a very slow offseason.
The Padres' general manager added Ian Kinsler and Garrett Richards in December, and he made a handful of Minor League transactions. But he's done little else this winter, and the San Diego roster still has quite a few question marks.
2019 schedule
With the calendar set to turn to 2019, here's a to-do list for Preller and the Padres before pitchers and catchers report to Peoria on Feb. 13:
1. Find an infielder
Could be a shortstop. Could be a third baseman. Could be someone who plays both spots. But the Padres need to solidify the left side of their infield, and Kinsler alone does not do the trick.
Sure, the 36-year-old veteran will get some reps at third during Spring Training. Plus, when he plays second, his presence will allow for Luis Urias to slide to shortstop. That still leaves one opening. And the club would rather not count on Ty France and Greg Garcia to fill it.
Of course, any addition the Padres make in their infield comes with the caveat that Fernando Tatis Jr. could arrive before June. The game's top-ranked shortstop prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, would force Urias back to second base (and Kinsler into a fight for playing time at third). But the Padres still need to find a plan for third base and/or shortstop before Tatis' arrival.

2. Design a roadmap for William Myers
In his four seasons in San Diego, Myers has moved from center field to first base to left field and, most recently, to third base. What's the plan for 2019? That's anyone's guess.
Myers is one of a handful of Padres outfielders on the trade block. But right now it seems likely he remains in San Diego. (The organization feels as though it'd be selling low on Myers after an injury-plagued 2018 campaign in which he never got rolling.) Assuming he returns, the Padres want to have a defined plan for Myers entering camp. He'd either be a full-time outfielder, a full-time third baseman or a hybrid between the two.
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Third base is currently the Padres' weakest offensive position, and left field is arguably their deepest spot. But it's not as simple as slotting Myers at third and calling it a day. He struggled immensely there last season.
It's possible Myers bounces back with a full offseason's worth of work at third base. It's also possible the Padres ask Myers to bounce between the two spots, giving them greater lineup flexibility. But it seems most likely that San Diego (and the rest of the league) views Myers as an outfielder -- in which case the Friars simply have too many of them.

3. Trade an outfielder
The Padres currently have six outfielders who have played meaningful starting roles in the last two seasons. It's hard to envision all six entering camp with the club, though Preller was quick to point out that he'd be just fine with doing so.
"You're creating competition, which is something we've pushed here in general the last few years," Preller said. "... Hopefully that would bring out the best in all of those guys."
If Myers ends up in the outfield, that gives San Diego three slugging, right-handed-hitting corner outfielders in Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe and Myers. They have the lefty Franchy Cordero, who could regularly spell the starters at all three spots (including Manuel Margot in center field). And Travis Jankowski is a perfect speed-and-defense bench option.
Depth clearly isn't an issue. And that would seemingly leave Myers, Renfroe and Reyes on the block. With Reyes coming off surgery to address a torn meniscus in his right knee, his trade stock might be down, leaving Renfroe and Myers as the two most likely options to be moved.

4. Add to the rotation
The Padres' interest in Chris Archer at the Trade Deadline was legitimate. Their interest in Noah Syndergaard earlier this offseason was, too. They've got a deep group of prospects (and, as mentioned above, some high-upside outfielders) to deal from. They'd like to find a front-of-the-rotation-caliber starter, provided he's got a few years of team control remaining.
That might not happen this offseason, with the Mets seemingly backing off of their willingness to move Syndergaard. But it's also unlikely that the Padres stand pat. They're very much a part of trade talks for the Yankees' Sonny Gray, and they're going to be active in searching for a free-agent bargain, too.
The makings of their 2020 rotation are coming into focus. Dinelson Lamet and Richards are due back from Tommy John surgery this year. Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi might progress after solid rookie seasons in '18. Big-name prospects like Logan Allen and Chris Paddack could arrive on the scene. The Padres want an anchor for that bunch, and if they can land that anchor one year early -- all the better.

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