Exploring pinch hitting going into 2011
The Padres signed Matt Stairs last off-season to be the primary pinch hitter for $700,000K. Going into 2011 Stairs was one Home-run shy of tying Cliff Johnson’s pinch hit record of 20. Stairs, eventually tied and then surpassed that mark while hitting his 20, (to tie) then his 21st homer as a pinch-hitter, the most in big league history. Many Padres players have gone on record as saying how vital a role Matt played as a mentor and as the primary pinch hitter/DH. Matt Struggled in the first half but down the stretch he really seemed to square up on pitches and produced in key situations. The pinch hitting/DH role is one of the harder things to do in Baseball and Matt is one of the best of all time.
Jed Hoyer could look at bringing the grisly veteran back, to keep the clubhouse chemistry; mostly the same group that had so much success in 2010. However, with the possibility of Adrian’s future, does the pinch hitter role change? The Padres could look at a younger or a more versatile player just in case the Padres deal Adrian and would need to rely on a serviceable player to take over until Kyle Blanks is healthy and producing at AAA. I believe the Padres will look at cheap alternatives such as they did last year, possibly players coming off down years that wont receive attractive starting offers that still have upside. Here is a list of some Free Agents that could be attractive. I also think the Padres should keep an eye on Mark Reynolds just in case the Padres decide to deal Adrian, Reynolds can play first. Pat Burrell is another player that has been linked to the Padres that has played first base in his career. However, both of those players would be sizable additions and would not fall under the pinch hitting category.