White Sox second baseman Yoán Moncada is “open to a position change,” according to comments made by GM Rick Hahn over the weekend. It appears to be something the club is considering as they head into their third rebuilding year, though Hahn noted that the decision would hinge on any pickups the club makes over the offseason.
It’s not the first time Hahn or Moncada has addressed the potential shift away from second base. After the 23-year-old infielder closed out his 2018 run with 21 errors and a .963 fielding percentage (eclipsed only by the Reds’ José Peraza and Red Sox’ Rafael Devers, the latter of whom committed 24 errors with a .926 fielding percentage), Hahn told reporters he believes Moncada’s athleticism will make him an “above-average defender at other positions.” Moncada himself said he’d be willing to move back to third base, a position he occupied during his rookie campaign with the Red Sox in 2016. There’s also a possibility that he could be considered at shortstop or center field, although he has yet to play either position at the major league level.
While Moncada’s defensive skills leave something to be desired, that isn’t necessarily the driving force behind a future position change. First-round draft pick and highly-touted middle infielder, Nick Madrigal, is considered a premier talent at second base and will likely command the position when he eventually works his way up to the majors. With Madrigal waiting in the wings, and notable free agents like Manny Machado and Daniel Murphy hitting the market this winter, it’s conceivable that the White Sox would want to transition Moncada to the hot corner sooner rather than later.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.