Since MLB ended the lockout, Padres fans have been impatiently waiting for another starting outfielder. The spring sensation Jorge Alfaro could have been an option. Alfaro had 28 starts and 141.2 innings in left field with the Marlins last season. Yet, Alfaro logged zero innings this spring training. Why?
Alfaro is the 2nd catcher, not Caratini
The Padres are carrying four catchers on their 40-man roster. Prospect Luis Campusano would’ve needed a C.J. Abrams-like spring to be in the discussion for an opening day roster spot. So, that leaves the number to three catchers. Yet, Austin Nola, Victor Caratini, or Alfaro played nothing on the field other than catcher.
San Diego showed their hand, they had no desire to keep three catchers on the roster come opening day, or else one of the three would’ve received at least some action besides catcher defensively. That was proven correct on Wednesday once Caratini was shipped off to Milwaukee for two minor league prospects.
It was a competition behind Nola and Alfaro clearly won the job after he led the Padres with four home runs this spring.
By the numbers
Alfaro can still be in left field on days he is not catching
Theoretically, sure, absolutely he can. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a pre-game lineup featuring Nola and Alfaro. But, I wouldn’t expect that too often or at least on a regular basis. Technically by the numbers, Alfaro was actually better defensively than newly acquired utility man Matt Beaty in left field last season.
Defensive runs saved above average
Some spring action would’ve been ideal since the Padres will face off against left-hander Madison Bumgarner on opening day. If Jurickson Profar hits closer to the 2020 version of himself there’s no rush to get Alfaro in the outfield.
The Padres ultimately do need to get another true right-handed bat in the outfield. As Profar is better from the left side, Beaty is exclusively from the left as is Trent Grisham. The only true right-handed bat is Wil Myers and he can be very streaky going from cold to hot like a San Diego winter.
Alfaro was in competition with Caratini for the backup catcher role. I don’t think playing Alfaro this spring would have done Alfaro any justice. It’s also not very ideal to go into the season penciling in your backup catcher as the number two right-handed bat in the outfield.
Keep an eye out for the trade market and there’s always an option that they can choose to go left-handed heavy with star prospect Abrams as he saw his final spring innings in the deep grass of the field.