Trent Grisham Helps Balance The Lineup
A long-term search to add balance to righthanded-leaning lineups in the A.J. Preller era—the Padres’ .298 on-base percentage against righthanders ranks last in the majors over the last five years—compelled general manager to rearrange the deck chairs to address the short-coming.
The cost: 22-year-old middle infielder Luis Urias and 24-year-old lefthander Eric Lauer.
The return: big league veteran righthander Zach Davies and Trent Grisham, a 23-year-old lefthanded-hitting outfielder.
"You have to give up quality to get quality,” Preller said. "We’ve got some options in the middle of the infield in the short and long term. Getting an outfielder who hits lefthanded and can play all three outfield spots, along with Davies . . . it was a move that made sense for us."
The Padres had had eyes on Grisham going all the way back to spring training, when he was beginning to get comfortable with reverting back to his old swing.
Grisham had rested his thumbs against the handle of the bat, like a golf grip, when Milwaukee drafted him 15th overall in 2015. He had been convinced to use a more traditional grip in pro ball but opted to try things his way after hitting .242 through his first four pro seasons.
The old habit clicked.
The 13 homers that Grisham hit in 63 games at Double-A Biloxi were a career high. He hit his way to Triple-A San Antonio and then to Milwaukee. All told he hit .300/.407/.603 with 26 homers in 97 minor league games.
Grisham hit enough in 51 big league games—.231/.328/.410—even warranted his spot as the Brewers’ leadoff hitter in the National League Wild Card Game.
With newcomer Tommy Pham entrenched in one outfield corner and Wil Myers likely slotted for the other, Grisham looks like he will enter camp with at least a share of a center field platoon with the righthanded-hitting Manuel Margot.
A healthy Franchy Cordero could force his way into the equation, but the Padres clearly envisioned significant playing time for Grisham when they gave up Urias.
"(Grisham) has earned the right to go compete for a major league spot,” Preller said. "He’s a good player. He’s competitive. He sees the baseball well and has added that power component. He can impact us in a lot of ways.”
— Lefthander Adrian Morejon and fellow Cuban Michel Baez, a righthander, will be stretched back into starting pitchers in spring training. Both prospects broke into the majors last year as relievers, in part to fill needs for the big league team.
— Outfielder Buddy Reed, an Futures Game selection in 2018, was traded to the Athletics as the player to be named in the Jurickson Profar trade. Reed struggled to a .213/.284/.339 batting line in 164 career games at Double-A.