The Padres are “bullish” on former top prospect Luis Sardinas following his strong showing with the club following an August trade, but they’re also still keeping an eye out for a long-term upgrade at the position, reports MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell.
“Realistically, [shortstop] will be something that we’ll still be looking at in Spring Training, comparing what’s out there, most likely via trade, versus what we have in-house,” San Diego general manager A.J. Preller tells Cassavell.
Preller knows Sardinas well, as he played a significant role in signing the now-23-year-old switch-hitter when he was working in the Rangers’ front office. Sardinas emerged as a Top 100 prospect in the eyes of MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, but he struggled through parts of three big league seasons before finding his first taste of Major League success with San Diego last year. In an admittedly small sample of 120 plate appearances, Sardinas batted .287/.353/.417 with a pair of homers, six doubles and a triple. He’s long been touted as an above-average defensive shortstop as well, so if he can continue to provide some semblance of offense, he could function as a long-term option in San Diego. Certainly, though, the Padres aren’t going to hang all their hopes on a month’s worth of plate appearances.
While Zack Cozart is an obvious trade candidate, it’s unlikely that San Diego would spring to part with young talent to acquire him with just one remaining year of club control. Looking elsewhere in the league, Adeiny Hechavarria’s name has come up in trade rumors over the past year, but the Marlins have repeatedly been said to want pitching help if he’s to be moved, and the Padres are thin in that regard themselves. Speculatively speaking, Freddy Galvis could eventually become available with J.P. Crawford looming on the horizon in Phialdelphia, while the A’s and Brewers have controllable options in Marcus Semien and Jonathan Villar.
The most common speculative name to be tied to the Padres is Jurickson Profar, due both to the lack of an opening in the Rangers’ middle infield and to Preller’s time in Texas. However, Profar didn’t do much with the bat in 2017 and is controllable only for another three seasons after missing two straight years with shoulder injuries. There’s quite possibly still some interest on San Diego’s behalf, but Profar is far from a sure thing, and it’s been a long time since he was the game’s top overall prospect.