In January, the Brewers shipped Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers in exchange for three prospects, one of those being shortstop Luis Sardinas. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the San Diego Padres may have interest in acquiring the 21 year old Sardinas from Milwaukee.
Sardinas is a former top 100 prospect in all of baseball, ranking as high as 76th before last season, per MLB.com. He would have been among the Brewers top prospects had he not exhausted his rookie eligibility last season for Texas. He is considered a plus defender at shortstop, and has the ability to play second base and third base as well. The switch hitter posted a .260/.303/.313 batting line in 125 plate appearances last season, posting a better OPS+ than incumbent Brewers’ starter Jean Segura. He doesn’t have a strong track record as a minor league hitter, though, and has walked in only 5.7% of his minor league plate appearances, leaving some to wonder if he becomes little more than a utilityman at the Major League level.
Padres GM A.J. Preller was with the Rangers organization when Sardinas was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2009, so it’s not surprising he has shown interest in a prospect that he is familiar with. The Padres have made a flurry of moves to remake their roster this offseason, though shortstop remains a position that is unsettled heading into Spring Training. It’s likely that San Diego would install Sardinas as their everyday shortstop, if they were to acquire him.
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According to his tweet, Rosenthal said that there have been no recent talks between the Brewers and the Padres, which isn’t very surprising to me. I’m not certain that the Brewers would be especially motivated to move such a young player that has been so highly regarded unless they could get a strong return. With the Brewers only major hole being at the back end of their bullpen, it’s unlikely the Padres (who are in a win-now mode themselves) would part with a pitcher like Alex Torres or Kevin Quackenbush in exchange for Sardinas.
The Brewers no longer seem sold on Segura as the shortstop of the future, and if he fails to impress for a second straight season, the path to everyday playing time for Sardinas could become much more clear. Sardinas even has a decent chance to make the team this year out of Spring Training, and could provide insurance across the infield for Milwaukee. He posted a strong .333/.379/.444 slash against lefties in 2014 (albeit in only 29 plate appearances), and could provide insurance against southpaws if Scooter Gennett struggles against them during the regular season. My bet is that the Brewers (wisely) hold on to Sardinas, and he has a solid chance at making an impact sometime in 2015.