At this point, as far as starting position players go, the Padres have only three certainties. Barring injury or catastrophe, Austin Hedges will be starting behind the plate on Opening Day. When he looks past the pitcher he’ll see Freddy Galvis at shortstop, and beyond him, Manuel Margot in center field. Who he’ll see in his peripheral vision is still up in the air.
This depends entirely on what Eric Hosmer chooses to do. I’m sure Wil Myers is just as anxious to find out as we are.
This is a thing that Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg do. Let ‘em fight it out. Like, on the field, through their play, that is; we don’t need a Chicago Bulls situation. Then again, Luis Urias could possibly make the leap, but he’d have to win it outright in convincing fashion, as now is no time to let him rot on a bench.
If Chase Headley is still around, he’s obviously your guy. That’s a big “if”, though. Christian Villanueva gets his third on, and Asuaje and Spangenberg have both been known to hold down the ol’ hot corner.
Again, this depends on Hosmer, in as much that Myers is at his mercy. If Hosmer signs elsewhere and Myers stays at first, the job is wide open as it stands now. Jose Pirela made over a third of the starts in left last year, and was good with the glove and better with the bat, but is still no sure bet even if someone new isn’t brought in to hold it down. Franchy Cordero could show that he’s ready and swoop in with a big Spring. Alex Dickerson is still a thing. Actually, he’s a person, and so is Travis Jankowski. If they’re really fully healthy and still around, who knows.
Hunter Renfroe is no guarantee. Of the staff at hand, he’s the most likely candidate, but he was demoted as recently as the middle of last August. He was called up a month later at the end of the El Paso Chihuahua’s playoff run; he hit six homers in 11 games but only walked once, finishing the season with just 27 in 479 plate appearances.
Matt Szczur is currently on the 25-man roster, but I didn’t mention him above because he’s no threat to be a starter. Oh, he’ll start some games for you, platoon at best, but he’s no starter. He’s by all accounts a terrific guy, he’s a great artist, and I’m not altogether sure what he’s doing here. Again, there’s still a lot of time between now and Opening Day, so there’s no telling who he or a lot of these guys will be playing for.
It’s not a starting position, but backup catcher is also anyone’s bet. Rocky Gale is currently on the roster, but my money is on it being just about anyone else. Veteran catchers don’t die; they just eventually begin their tour of the NL West.