In trading standout reliever Ernesto Frieri to the Angels yesterday the Padres picked up a prospect they hope will be their long-term second baseman in Alexi Amarista.
He doesn’t project as a star player and for now Amarista is at Triple-A anyway, but Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports that the clock may be ticking on the Padres’ current double-play duo of veterans Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett.
In fact, Hayes writes that “team sources have confirmed that neither player is in the Padres’ long-term plans” and “both could be released before the season ends.”
Bartlett is hitting .164 and has a $5.5 million option or $1.5 million buyout for next season that vests if he reaches 432 plate appearances, which could make it tough to unload him via trade. Hudson is hitting .210 and has an $8 million option or $2 million buyout for next season, but with no plate appearance-based vesting he might be a bit easier to unload if San Diego eats all the remaining salary.
Whatever the case, Hayes clearly thinks there’s a good chance Amarista and Everth Cabrera are the Padres’ double-play duo in the second half. And maybe before then.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.