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Myers' role for Padres in 2019 up in the air

Stocked farm system gives club options on trade market
September 30, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- William Myers played center field when he arrived in San Diego for the 2015 season. He moved to first base for the next two years, then started the '18 campaign in left and finished it at third.So where does Myers play in 2019? Even the Padres aren't

SAN DIEGO -- William Myers played center field when he arrived in San Diego for the 2015 season. He moved to first base for the next two years, then started the '18 campaign in left and finished it at third.
So where does Myers play in 2019? Even the Padres aren't sure yet. They'll spend the next few weeks evaluating their roster options (and Myers' performance over the past two months at third) and settle on a plan.
Myers' future was one of a number of topics that general manager A.J. Preller addressed in his end-of-season press conference on Sunday morning.
"We'll definitely give direction," Preller said. "If outfield is going to be [the] spot, we'll let him know that. If we feel he's going to be moving around the diamond, we'll let him know that. If he needs to bring a third-base glove and be ready for that, we'll talk about that as well."
Five questions looming for Padres this offseason
This much is certain: Myers believes he's capable of playing third base, despite the early struggles.
In 36 games at third base, Myers committed six errors, and he made quite a few mishaps that weren't ruled as errors, too. Much of that, Myers said, comes down to inexperience. He had about three weeks of training at third before he was thrust into the position -- one he had never played with any regularity in his life.
"Anyone who says, 'You can't play third base,' bro, you go do that," Myers said of the quick position change. "I feel like, with an offseason, I will absolutely be able to play third base. I will absolutely be able to work those things out. ... People love to judge after 30 games at third base. Listen, I ain't played a great third base, but I don't really know what I'm doing yet. As soon as I get comfortable, get confident, get to my glove side instead of backhanding, I know I'll be able to play third base."
Preller didn't discount that notion, adding, "He's definitely athletic enough to do it."
But there are other decisions this offseason that could affect where Myers plays. The move to third was a product of breakout seasons from Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes in the two corner-outfield spots.
Next year, the dynamic could be different. Third baseman Christian Villanueva will return from a broken finger, which sidelined him over the last couple months. If Freddy Galvis is re-signed, that could shift Fernando Tatis Jr. -- the club's top prospect -- to third base on occasion, too.

It's also entirely possible the Padres look to deal Myers, Reyes or Renfroe, which would seemingly alleviate the outfield logjam (and, in turn, the need to play Myers at third).
"With the development of Franmil, and with Hunter, that was a way to basically get all three guys in the lineup," Preller said. "For someone to go out in a big league game and be willing to do it says a lot about him. We'll get into the offseason and talk about what's the best configuration for our club. We have some depth at different positions that I'm sure will be discussed with other teams as well."
Active on the trade front
In a bit of a surprise, the Padres were linked with several front-line starting pitchers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. Don't be surprised if that's the case again this offseason.
"In the last 12 months, any established players that have been put on the trade market, we've been part of those discussions," Preller said. "We've had other teams reaching out to us, wanting to tap into some of the resources we have in our system. I think that'll be no different this offseason. We'll evaluate the guys we have in our system, versus what we're able to."
Given the Padres' obvious pitching needs, it's likely they explore trade options to add a starter. Before the Deadline, they were linked with Chris Archer and Noah Syndergaard, among others.
That said, Preller made it clear he's not willing to sacrifice his top-ranked farm system just for the sake of making a deal.
"Every decision we make is built toward a plan," Preller said. "What we're not going to do is short-circuit that. The last few years, we're building, really, to get away from the mindset of being average. ... We do that to try to build up a talent base in the organization."
'We're going to look to start to compete'
Preller wouldn't get too specific with his expectations for the 2019 season. But suffice it to say, he expects better.
"[We're] starting to climb out of this point where it's a development mindset, where we're at the bottom part of the standings," Preller said. "We have a lot of players that are starting to show they're big league caliber players, that they're not Minor League guys or prospects."
Preller was asked if finishing .500 would be a realistic goal.
"From our standpoint next year we're going to look to start to compete," he said. "You've got to get over .500 to do that.
Noteworthy
• On whether the Padres will be linked with any top-tier free agents in this offseason's monster class, Preller said:
"You have some guys that are going to be big-ticket items. I think we start with: Never say no to anything. It's not like anything is off-limits. We're open to every possibility, every situation."
• Preller expressed a desire to retain Galvis, but he noted that if Galvis returns, his role would almost certainly change. Given Tatis' pending arrival, Galvis would probably have to cede some playing time, were he to remain in San Diego.
• Since the Padres acquired catcher Francisco Mejia via trade in July, there has been speculation he'd move to the outfield part-time. That would allow the Padres to get both Mejia and Austin Hedges into their lineup. But Preller was noncommital on that possibility.
"We want to look at everything as far as what's going to make us a better club, but internally, we're pretty certain Mejia can catch at the big league level," Preller said. "... We'll look at it. To get his bat in the lineup and another bat in the lineup, you want to consider different positions."

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