Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Tommy Medica Conundrum

The Padres first regular season game is a week from tomorrow, and the 25-man roster is starting to take shape. San Diego appears to have an opening on the bench, with a few players in contention for a final spot. One of those players is Tommy Medica, who has had the best spring of any Padre.

For the spring, Medica is hitting .362(through Saturday's action), with two homers and six RBI's. He leads the club with 21 hits and a .569 slugging percentage. Medica has cooled off a bit after a torrid start, but the offensive-starved Friars can surely use his big bat in the middle of the lineup.

The issue is where would the Padres play Medica. He is primarily a first baseman, however the Padres have Yonder Alonso entrenched there. Medica has played a bit in the outfield, however the Padres have depth in the outfield, barring a significant injury. Medica has even caught in the minors, although that has not been a consideration in the majors.

Medica got his first taste of big league action last season, and performed quite well, posting a .290/.380/.449 triple-slash line in 79 plate appearances. The at-bats came in September when Yonder Alonso was unable to play. If Medica were to make the big club, his playing time would be sporadic. For what it is worth, Medica hit an embarrassing .121 in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League in October. Another small sample size, but a concern nonetheless.

When one takes a look at the makeup of the roster, and the inexperience of Medica, it seems like the most beneficial decision for everyone would be to option Medica to AAA. Yonder Alonso has swung the bat very well this spring, and deserves to play everyday. Medica only played a half-season at AA, and would benefit from a trip to AAA.

In this scenario, Medica can feast of Pacific Coast League pitching, play everyday, and be ready when someone goes down with an injury. At this state of his career, Medica should not be relegated to part-time duty.

For the latest Padres news and opinions, follow me on Twitter @kevin_charity. Feel free to contact me with questions and comments at kc32485@gmail.com 

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