The Padres have made a move to address their shallow outfield depth:
The Padres send righty Justin Hancock, who was long considered one of the better prospects in the Padres’ system. Hancock has been pitching out of the bullpen this year after missing all but two starts in the 2016 season.
Matt Szczur is more than the best Padres Scrabble play since Marc Rzepczynski. The utility outfielder is coming off a nice 2016 season where he was a major contributor to the Cubs’ championship run. He was designated for assignment after a slow start to the season while being buried behind veterans Ben Zobrist, Jon Jay, and Jason Heyward, as well as breakout outfielders Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber. It might not be fair to call Szczur’s start as “slow” as much as he’s lacked opportunities, only logging 23 plate appearances after more than a month of play. Our compatriots over at Bleed Cubbie Blue see him as a great clubhouse guy who plays adequate defense at all three positions who grinds out at-bats but doesn’t excel offensively.
Matt Szczur may be best known not for his performance on the field, but rather for the performance of his equipment. Anthony Rizzo famously started using his bat last October to break out of a slump, and reportedly Addison Russell wore his leggings to do the same. Perhaps Szczur can bring some of that ample mojo to Petco!
Szczur will likely start in leftfield most nights for the Padres, freeing Cory Spangenberg and Allen Cordoba to see more reps in their more typical infield positions. Szczur can fill in at right and centerfield as well. Jabari Blash may once again be the odd man out. The powerful corner outfielder has struggled to make consistent contact at the plate once again, going 3-for-27 as a reserve outfielder and bench bat.