The Padres made a flurry of moves this afternoon, optioning shortstop C.J. Abrams to Triple-A El Paso, reinstating outfielder Wil Myers and first baseman Luke Voit from the 10-day IL, and designating outfielder Trayce Thompson for assignment, reports AJ Cassavell of MLB.com (Twitter link).
The demotion of Abrams, who’d been splitting time at shortstop with Ha-Seong Kim, will come as a disappointment to Padres fans, who’d hoped to see the consensus top-20 prospect (and, until today, youngest player in the NL) hit the ground running in the bigs. But while the 21-year-old has played solid defense in his first taste of the majors, his .182/.270/.273 batting line was simply too much of a drag on an already stagnant Padres offense to give him the playing time the organization will want to give him.
The long-term expectation in San Diego likely remains that Abrams will ultimately dislodge Fernando Tatis Jr. from shortstop, but it may not happen this year unless Abrams can find his stroke in Triple-A. Kim will likely take over primary duties there for the time being, with the recently claimed Sergio Alcántara as his understudy. It isn’t yet clear whether Tatis will reclaim the position upon his expected mid-season return from a fracture in his left wrist, though Abrams’ failure to lay his own claim to it certainly makes that scenario more likely.
Myers and Voit will likely reclaim their spots in the lineup (Myers in right, Voit at DH), though neither had gotten off to a blistering start to the season. Myers, who’s been out since late April with a thumb injury, owns a .218/.254/.273 line in 59 plate appearances, while Voit, also out since late April with a biceps tendon issue, has slashed a mere .143/315/.167 in 54 trips to the plate. Both have proven themselves capable of greater production than they’ve delivered so far, of course, and they should give a boost to a Padres lineup that’s posted a meager 65 wRC+ in May. Manger Bob Melvin has rotated DH duties in Voit’s absence, but Myers will likely take at-bats directly from rookie Jose Azocar (.222/.323/.259 in a 31 PA sample) and the DFAed Thompson.
Indeed, though he’s now appeared in six major league seasons (dating to his 2015 debut with the White Sox) and delivered better-than-replacement-level production on the whole in his big-league career (.205/.280/.397 in 640 plate appearances), Thompson’s departure from the 26-man roster marks another failure to find a permanent home for the 31-year-old former second-rounder. Though he’d hardly played for the Friars (sixteen trips to the plate across six games), his anemic .071/.188/.071 batting line made him a prime choice to fall victim to a roster crunch. As Thompson (the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson) has been outrighted before, he can opt to become a free agent, though he may also choose to accept an assignment if he thinks another big-league opportunity with the Padres could present itself.