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Inbox: Is an overhaul on the way for the Padres?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers questions from fans
@AJCassavell
October 15, 2019

The Padres have narrowed their search for a manager to a few front-line candidates. But with two weeks until hot stove season kicks off, no decision is imminent. In the meantime, this week's Inbox takes a look at some of the most pressing questions that loom for the Padres once

The Padres have narrowed their search for a manager to a few front-line candidates. But with two weeks until hot stove season kicks off, no decision is imminent.

In the meantime, this week's Inbox takes a look at some of the most pressing questions that loom for the Padres once they've made that decision:

What does the new manager mean for the rest of the Padres' coaching staff?
-- Ben, San Diego

That depends on who the hire is in the first place. These processes usually follow a pattern: The new hire brings in a few of his own people while keeping a couple coaches from the old regime for continuity.

Early indications are that Padres will take the same tack. But I'd expect a slight lean toward an overhaul. Neither the offense nor the pitching has been up to par lately. The front office will sit down with the next manager and evaluate coaching options. But it's pretty clear the organization would like to shake things up after its disappointing finish.

What does that mean for pitching coach Darren Balsley and third base coach Glenn Hoffman, two well-respected members of the staff whose tenures have spanned three different managers? That remains to be seen. But neither is a lock to return.

How good will Stephen Strasburg look in brown and gold?
-- Rich R.

He'd probably look something like this:

As for the chances that Strasburg will actually don brown and gold for San Diego -- they aren't zero. Right now, it seems most likely that Strasburg returns to Washington, either by opting into his contract or negotiating an extension. But if that falls through, the Padres would move to the forefront of candidates for the San Diego native.

Right now, sources say the organization plans to be smart with its money this winter. That doesn't mean cheap, but they're unlikely to overpay for someone like Strasburg. (And overpaying might be what it takes to land him.) Then again, the Padres have shocked the baseball world in back-to-back offseasons with nine-figure contracts. And they sure could use a front-line starter.

What is the starting outfield on Opening Day?
-- Ron R., San Diego

Usually, I try to include questions that I know the answer to in this space. On this one, all I can do is shrug.

Consider this: There might not be a single outfielder whose odds are better than 50 percent to start on Opening Day next season. Maybe Hunter Renfroe? But chances are the Rockies will throw a right-hander in the opener, so that's an iffy proposition. No one else on the active roster is even close to 50 percent.

Franchy Cordero has dealt with his share of injuries. Manuel Margot typically sits against right-handers. Wil Myers seems destined to be traded. And the Padres will almost certainly look to upgrade from the lefty-hitting duo of Josh Naylor and Nick Martini.

There's a good chance two Padres 2020 outfielders aren't on the roster right now. So, let's get weird. How about an Opening Day outfield of Renfroe, Starling Marte (via trade with Pittsburgh) and Nick Markakis (via free agency).

If you had to rank these players' chances to be on the Padres next year, how would you rank them: Renfroe, Hedges, Lauer, Lucchesi, Urías, Margot, Myers?
-- Shaun R., Missoula, Montana

From most to least likely:
Renfroe; Eric Lauer; Luis Urías; Margot; Austin Hedges; Joey Lucchesi; Myers

Renfroe isn't untouchable, but after moving Franmil Reyes at the Trade Deadline, it's hard to envision San Diego parting with its biggest righty power threat.

Meanwhile, I don't think the Padres are being proactive in looking to move Lucchesi and Hedges. But Lucchesi's stuff is enticing, and he can impact a rotation right away. Hedges is already an elite defender at a premium position. Both sound like obvious pieces in a potential deal for a starter or an outfielder.

As for Myers, it's not a lock that he's traded. But executive chairman Ron Fowler noted that the club would likely need to eat salary in a potential Myers deal. That sure sounds like a player being shopped.

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