The shortstop is widely regarded as the most important position for the infield. If that’s true, the Padres will never run out of talent.
Many say that shortstop is the hardest position in MLB. Usually, they are the infield captain and must cover the most ground out of anyone in the infield.
This would lead most to believe it to be the most complicated spot for the infield. The San Diego Padres would be one team to agree with that statement.
With Fernando Tatís coming back soon, the Padres will have five players who have played significant time at the spot in the major and minor leagues. Let’s go over who their current options are, and where they are most likely to play in 2023.
Xander Bogaerts is the most recent addition to the shortstop carousel for the Padres. The team hopes for the everyday position to be Bogaerts’.
“I play infield, I play shortstop,” said Bogaerts for his introductory press conference.
The Padres signed Bogaerts to an 11-year $280 million contract. Despite Tatis’ massive extension, on a per year basis, that barely makes Bogaerts the highest-paid at the position on the team.
Fernando Tatís Jr.
Tatís is widely regarded as a top shortstop in MLB. That is a crazy thought considering he might not ever play the position again for the Padres.
Tatis was signed to a 14-year $340 million deal in February 2021. It was and still is the largest contract in Padres’ history.
243 out of 273 MLB games for Tatís have been played at shortstop. Right field will be his projected starting position upon his return on April 20. His range will be less of a liability but he will still be able to take advantage of his strong arm.
As a shortstop, Kim was highly regarded for his defensive skills when he signed with the Padres in 2021. He won the KBO Gold Glove award three years in a row from 2018 to 2020.
In 2022, he was an MLB Gold Glove finalist, eventually losing to Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.
Currently, The Padres expect the everyday second baseman to be Kim.
Cronenworth has played 61 games at shortstop in his career with a fielding percentage of .971. For his time in the minors, he played 367 minor league games at the position.
Since the start of his three-year career, Jake has made two All-Star appearances and finished second in ROTY voting.
However, many believe he will slide to first base for the season after playing second base most of his career.
A two-time Gold Glover at third base, many forget Machado came up as a shortstop. Manny played 203 out of 207 games at short in the minors in the Baltimore system.
In the 239 MLB games played at short, he boasts a .974 fielding percentage.
Obviously, Manny will stick to his spot at the hot corner for the Padres for the foreseeable future. His role is the most entrenched of anyone on the list.
With the end of the shift for the upcoming season, great defenders are going to be in high demand.
Flexibility will be key for lots of teams and the Padres ability to have solid defenders with great athleticism all over the infield might prove to be the new norm in MLB.
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