- Lindor is under team control for two more years while Betts only has one year until free agency.
- Lindor is set to make $17.5 million this season while Betts is making $27M. Of course, Lindor’s salary will go up next season, but it’s unlikely to be $27M.
Before going any further, let’s point out that the Padres have not had an empty offseason. They swung a deal for Tommy Pham and he’ll fit really nicely toward the top of the order. Late-inning lefty Drew Pomeranz is back. Utility man Jurickson Profar was acquired in a trade, just as outfielder Trent Grisham and starter Zach Davies were.
- Betts is better.
- The Padres have Tatis at shortstop.
- Fielding percentage: .944 (54th of 57 SS with at least 150 innings)
- Fangraphs dWAR: -2.1 (54th)
- Baseball-reference.com dWAR: 0.2 (36th)
- UZR: -5.8 (53rd)
- Defensive runs saved: -2 (40th)
- Baseball Savant outs above average: -13 (33rd of 35)
But could they move Tatis? While he made plenty of highlight-reel plays and is capable of doing much better in the future, Tatis’ defensive numbers weren’t great.Now, would there be concern about Tatis learning outfield when he’s only been an infielder his whole life? Possibly. But lots of lesser athletes move to the outfield and some learn to do it adequately. There are reasons Lindor should be more attractive to the Padres than Betts. Namely: If the Padres were worried about him handling the move to center, perhaps a move to second base? You don’t bring this up unless there’s a reason, and if there’s a realistic shot at Lindor, it’s at least worth a discussion. That’s a major improvement from last season and, again, there are reasons to believe the Padres will get better internally as well. As noted, given his age and big-league inexperience I wouldn’t look at those and see “change his position immediately!” But it’s something the Padres could very well consider. For those curious, Lindor scores above average across the board and excellent in some metrics with his glove. Francisco Lindor would qualify as a big splash.
- Tatis, CF
- Pham, LF
- Lindor, SS
- Machado, 3B
- Hosmer, 1B
- Wil Myers/Grisham, RF
- Francisco Mejia/Austin Hedges, C
- Jurickson Profar, 2B
Here’s how the Padres might look if they made this move (I’m going to include Manuel Margot in the deal going to Cleveland). “Tatis probably could play anywhere on the field, to be honest,” said another scout. “He’s an incredible athlete.”