Believe it or not, Brett Wallace appeared in 119 games for the Padres in 2016, while nearly two-thirds of his games played featured him as a third baseman. After flashing pop in a limited role in 2015, he failed to replicate that level of success in a larger part-time opportunity, whiffing at a 32.4 percent clip and hitting the ball on the ground at an elevated 51.1 percent rate. Wallace also had a reverse split last season, hitting righties at a paltry .171/.294/.320 clip, and his defensive work remains well below average. The former first-round pick has been unable to meet expectations throughout six years in the big leagues, while his career .238/.316/.389 line through 1,440 plate appearances may lead him overseas in the near future, as the allure of his body of work at Triple-A (career .302/.370/.479) is fading fast. He'll attempt to crack the Padres' Opening Day roster during spring training after returning on a minor league deal in December.
Wallace was released by the Padres on Sunday, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports. The 30-year-old was the 13th-overall pick back in 2008 with the Cardinals and has appeared in nearly 500 major-league games with the Astros and Padres. He was brutal at the dish in 217 at-bats in San Diego last year, however, batting just .189 with six homers, 20 RBI and a whopping 83 strikeouts. Things didn't get any better this spring, as Wallace's .179 average and 18 K's through 39 at-bats will show, which is what likely prompted his outright release by the club.
Wallace was reassigned to minor-league camp Wednesday. The 30-year-old corner infielder was a long-shot to land a roster spot even on a rebuilding Padres squad, but his .179 spring batting average did nothing to bolster his case, either. Wallace will likely serve as organizational depth at Triple-A El Paso for much of the season.
Wallace has signed a minor league contract with the Padres, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Although the report did not say so explicitly, Wallace will presumably attend major league camp for spring training. He failed to build on the momentum from a strong run over the second half of 2015, batting just .189/.309/.318 in 256 plate appearances last season. Now 30, Wallace is unlikely to fall into 250-plus plate appearances again, even on a rebuilding Padres team.
Wallace declined his outright assignment to Triple-A El Paso, electing free agency, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He fared well in a small sample in 2015 but Wallace crashed back to earth this past season, hitting for just a .189/.309/.318 line in 256 plate appearances. Wallace doesn't hit for enough power to make up for his lack of contact (especially at the corner infield spots), but he does take his walks and some team will probably give him a look in spring training.
Wallace went 2-for-3 with a solo shot, two RBI and scored twice Wednesday versus the Blue Jays. Wallace didn't start a game for the entire month until the Padres hit an AL park for the Jays series, and the DH spot opened the door for the first baseman. In the first two games, he went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, but made sure he didn't leave town without putting something on the stat sheet. Unfortunately, his sixth home run of the year won't be enough to make up for his struggles this season, and he'll likely head back to the bench when the team returns home to open a weekend series for the Reds on Friday.