The Padres' latest experiment involves playing Wil Myers at third base
Myers has started four of five games at the hot corner
The San Diego Padres seldom merit late-season attention for obvious reasons. Heck, the Padres entered Saturday with a 48-77 record, the worst in the National League. Yet San Diego could provide some interesting fodder over the next six weeks due to their latest experimentation.
Over the next month and a half, the Padres intend to tinker with defensive positions. That process started earlier this week when the Padres started Wil Myers at third base four times in five games. Myers had minimal experience at the position in the minors, and had played just one inning there throughout his five big-league seasons. In addition to Myers, the Padres will audition Christian Villanueva -- their primary third baseman -- at both middle-infield positions. He started at the keystone on Friday night.
Why? Here's manager Andy Green's reasoning for the shuffling, per The Athletic's Dennis Lin:
"We're going to figure out how versatile we are as a club, and we'll take some looks at different alignments. Where we are in the process right now, it only makes sense for us to try some things."
It does make sense for the Padres to maximize Myers and Villanueva's defensive versatility ahead of next season. San Diego has a packed outfield, with Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero, and Manuel Margot all requiring spots. Myers is perhaps the most able of the bunch to play elsewhere, so having him try out third could help alleviate the logjam when all four are healthy. Add in how catching prospect Francisco Mejia may move to -- or, at least spend time in -- the outfield, and yes, San Diego is being wise by attempting a creative solution to their surplus.
As for Villanueva, who has been a quality find as a minor-league free agent, the Padres have a pair of promising middle-infield prospects on the rise in Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. As such, giving him time up-the-middle could boost his value to other teams and/or help the Padres determine if he has a future on their roster, be it as a second or third baseman or as a utilityman.
The Padres don't have a whole lot to lose if this whole ordeal goes bust the way some of their past trials have. Remember Christian Bethancourt? How about carrying three Rule 5 picks? Regardless of how it works out, give them credit for trying in the late stages of an otherwise bad year.
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