SAN DIEGO -- By now, you've probably heard: The Padres are looking to trade an outfielder.They have six of them, after all, and all six have contributed significantly as starters over the past two seasons.But while it seems extremely likely that one of those six players is dealt this offseason,
SAN DIEGO -- By now, you've probably heard: The Padres are looking to trade an outfielder.
They have six of them, after all, and all six have contributed significantly as starters over the past two seasons.
But while it seems extremely likely that one of those six players is dealt this offseason, don't consider it a foregone conclusion, says general manager A.J. Preller.
Recent trade speculation has come down to the club's three right-handed-hitting corner outfielders -- William Myers, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe. There isn't much room for any of those three to serve as a backup, with the left-handed-hitting Franchy Cordero set to see time at all three outfield spots, while Manuel Margot plays center and Travis Jankowski serves as a speed-and-defense option off the bench.
Unless Myers is the solution at third base -- and it seems unlikely the organization feels he is -- that leaves three players for a maximum of two spots. The circumstances are ripe for a trade, and you can bet Preller and the rest of the Major League clubs know it.
"Outfield depth is an area that a lot of teams have hit us on during the course of the last month," Preller said last week. "We've got some guys teams feel are Major League-caliber players, and we'll continue to have discussions. ... You always deal from positions of depth, and our outfield is a position of depth."
But Reyes' recent knee injury brings to light an important question: Just how deep, exactly, is the Padres outfield?
Reyes underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on Thursday. He's expected to be back by the start of Spring Training, but it's certainly possible the Padres take things slowly with him in camp.
In any case, the club isn't particularly worried about his long-term status. It expects him to be full go by Opening Day, and a team source noted that Reyes' injury doesn't change the Padres' plans this offseason.
But while an outfield trade could take shape by the Winter Meetings -- or sooner -- Preller noted it's not imperative.
"It can be hard to line up for deals, and we think a lot of our [outfield] group," Preller said. "We feel comfortable having quality players in some multiples at those spots. We saw it with some injuries ... you want to make sure you're covered."
Essentially: Yes, the Padres have a glut of outfielders. Yes, they have holes at third, short and in the rotation. That doesn't mean they'll automatically be trading an outfielder to shore up another spot on the diamond.
Even if we assume Reyes is back to full health by Spring Training, this group of outfielders is still riddled with question marks. Margot struggled immensely in his sophomore campaign. Renfroe and Reyes have been feared big league sluggers for only about half a season. Cordero is coming off elbow surgery. And Myers, who seems likeliest to be traded, missed half of last season with injury and is still trying to regain his early-2016 form.
Of the six, Jankowski is the only known commodity. (By now, his role as a bench option is pretty clearly defined.) The other five have higher ceilings, but they've yet to reach those ceilings consistently.
"I don't think it's a situation where you have to move anybody," Preller said. "But you're always going to listen. We'll keep listening. Honestly, we feel it's a good position to be in, to have some quality depth in numbers."
If the Padres were to trade, say, Myers or Renfroe, they'd suddenly have little margin for error. They couldn't afford for Margot's struggles to continue. Or for Cordero's strikeout rate to linger near 40 percent. Or for Reyes to regress from his torrid second half.
In some ways, Preller is probably using his comments as leverage. He doesn't need to trade anyone.
But there's some truth to them as well. It's very likely that at least one of those six outfielders is dealt by Opening Day 2019. But it's not a guarantee.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.