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Inbox: Which prospects will be in camp?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers questions from Padres fans
November 21, 2017

What prospects could be invited to Major League Spring Training? -- Ramon, San DiegoThe first few weeks of Padres camp have the potential to be extremely fun, with some big-time prospects joining the big league club.Up the middle, I think there's a good chance Padres fans get a look at

What prospects could be invited to Major League Spring Training?
-- Ramon, San Diego

The first few weeks of Padres camp have the potential to be extremely fun, with some big-time prospects joining the big league club.
Up the middle, I think there's a good chance Padres fans get a look at their presumed double-play duo of the future. No. 3 prospect Luis Urias is a lock for a big league invite, and there's a good chance Fernando Tatis Jr. (ranked No. 4) joins him. Tatis, an 18-year-old shortstop, would get a feel for the big league clubhouse before being sent down in early March. Urias, on the other hand, could linger with the club for the duration of camp -- especially if one of the second-base options ahead of him gets traded.
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On the mound, things get tricky. The Padres really want to see their vaunted Double-A rotation in action against big league hitters. But at least 10 pitchers will be competing for spots in the Opening Day rotation. It might be tough to find innings for Cal Quantrill (No. 2), Eric Lauer (No. 8) and Joey Lucchesi (No. 9). That said, I expect all three to open camp with the Padres. It's their first chance to impress for a potential midseason callup.

Over/under two big league offseason trades for the Padres?
-- Name not given

Can I push? I really like two as the number of deals general manager A.J. Preller will make this offseason.
It seems likely the Padres deal one of their three primary options at second base or third base. Whether it's Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg or Carlos Asuaje -- that remains to be seen. But there's enough organizational depth at those two spots that I'm comfortable penciling in one trade in the infield.
After that? Flip a coin as to whether Brad Hand will be dealt. The Padres could also make a move for a shortstop, but I'd guess it's likelier they acquire one through free agency. They could easily deal for bullpen help. Or ... they could sell an arm like Kirby Yates or Buddy Baumann for the right price.
I'd err toward the over. But I still think two is the right number.
What are the thoughts on Solarte staying at shortstop for the season if they can't find a quality free-agent stopgap? He seemed serviceable down the stretch.
-- Aaron K., Costa Mesa, Calif.

It doesn't sound as though the Padres are considering that option. Solarte was indeed serviceable, but only as a No. 2 option. That's important, because -- unless Solarte is dealt -- the Padres probably won't need to look for a backup. But he's not nearly rangy enough to play short everyday.
Consider this: The Padres' starting rotation was the only rotation in the Majors to post a ground-ball rate above 50 percent in 2017. Their Ultimate Zone Rating at shortstop was -13.3, the worst mark in the Majors. Poor infield play was a serious detriment to San Diego's staff, specifically sinkerballers Luis Perdomo, Clayton Richard and Jhoulys Chacin.
If the Padres want to play to their pitchers' strengths, they'll sign a better defensive shortstop this offseason. Zack Cozart and Alcides Escobar, two readily available free agents, are past their primes defensively. But both are still above average. Ideally, Solarte would continue to play second and third regularly, while serving as backup to someone of that ilk.

Giancarlo Stanton to the Padres: Could it be done? How would it be done?
-- Loren C., San Diego

Let me address your first question first: No. It won't be done. But let's have some fun. This is the Padres Inbox, after all.
How would it be done, you ask? Well, the Padres aren't about to commit $295 million to one player when there are numerous holes to fill on the roster. I'd guess the Marlins need to eat at least a third -- and maybe half -- of that money. And if the Marlins are going to eat half of that money, the Padres need to compensate them with some serious young talent in return.
Hunter Renfroe goes to Miami as a young, high-upside right-field replacement for Stanton. After that, at least two elite prospects are needed to complete the deal -- let's say Urias and left-hander Adrian Morejon, both Top 100 according to MLBPipeline. Then, maybe the Padres throw in an unproven youngster with potential, because this is Giancarlo Stanton we're talking about. Say, 19-year-old catcher Luis Campusano.
So it's Renfroe, Urias, Morejon and Campusano to Miami for Stanton and half his salary. Who says no? Both teams. The Marlins seem intent on shedding as much of that contract as possible. And the Padres wouldn't give up on four extremely cost-effective assets who could make an impact down the road. Theoretically, San Diego could use that Stanton money to bring a top free agent on board when those four guys are playing for a contender.
So, yeah, a Stanton trade isn't happening. But it was fun to envision him peppering the Western Metal Building on a nightly basis, wasn't it?

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