The Padres’ Depth Will Be Tested Without Xander Bogaerts

With Xander Bogaerts set to be out for a while, the Padres, who are barely staying afloat in the standings, will have their depth tested.

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the San Diego Padres holds his shoulder after an injury in the third inning during game one of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on May 20, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

Just before the 2024 season began, the San Diego Padres decided to play musical chairs with their defensive alignment. Xander Bogaerts and Ha-Seong Kim were to switch positions, with the former occupying second base for the first time in his career and the latter becoming the club’s full-time shortstop.

Defensively, they’ve both been just fine this year. That is, until Bogaerts hurt his shoulder on an attempted diving stop on May 20. The four-time All-Star was trying to prevent a groundball from leaving the infield when he broke his left shoulder. According to multiple reports, including one from Dennis Lin of The Athletic, Bogaerts is going to miss some serious time.

Lin says that the Padres do not expect Bogaerts to require surgery, but “multiple months” is the latest range being thrown around for how long the club is going to be without their star infielder.

Bogaerts was not exactly setting the world on fire at the plate this year, but his presence will be missed. In 47 games, he hit four home runs and drove in 14, posting an OPS+ of just 70. Those numbers are not enough to jump off the page, but he had a .333 batting average over the last seven days, so he might’ve gone down just as he was turning things around.

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Currently playing out an 11-year, $280M contract, this is the worst possible news for Bogaerts, who is looking to prove that he’s worth the investment. With him being out now until late Summer, let’s take a look at the Padres’ depth chart and how they can absorb his absence.

Xander Bogaerts’ Injury Comes at a Bad Time

Entering Thursday’s action, the Padres are 26-26, 7.0 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. In a season where a Wild Card spot is much more plausible, San Diego currently occupies the third WC slot in the standings, a game above the Diamondbacks and Giants.

At 5-5 over their last 10, the Padres are doing a bit of a treading water in the standings. Joe Musgrove just returned from an injured list stint of his own, but the fact of the matter is that the Padres are going to need a whole lot more than the addition of Musgrove.

Heck, this is a team that just went out and traded for Luis Arraez, one of the game’s best contact hitters. It seems that Bogaerts going down comes at an ideal time, as his replacement is already in the lineup. The only issue is that Arraez is a dreadful defensive second baseman and has a bat best suited for a designated hitter spot.

The Diamondbacks and Giants are right behind the Friars in both the WC and the divisional standings. Each of the two are 24-26 but are 6-4 and 7-3 over their last 10 games, respectively. The Padres losing who should be one of their top offensive contributors could end up being a massive blow to a team that can’t afford one of those right now.

Let’s take a closer look at the Padres’ depth and how they can go about replacing Bogaerts.

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How Can the Padres Replace Xander Bogaerts?

Moves that should not be considered are asking players to switch positions in the wake of the Bogaerts injury. Cronenworth, Kim, Jackson Merrill and Jurickson Profar all have recent experience at second base, but are all key cogs at their current positions. Sometimes all it takes for a player to lose his mojo is moving him around too much on defense.

Luis Arraez

Arraez is certainly one of the top options, but the Padres would be swapping out a player in the 89th percentile in Fielding Run Value for one … in the 1st percentile. Arraez is in the 1st percentile in FRV and OAA, as well as the 8th in Arm Strength. He is barely able to competently play the field.

Strictly from an offensive standpoint, though, he’s been as advertised. Since coming over in the deal, Arraez is hitting .391 with a .903 OPS and 164 OPS+. If the Padres are comfortable sacrificing defense for offense, this is the way to go. However, keeping Arraez at DH and giving someone else a shot to play the field feels like a smarter way to go.

Donovan Solano

Bogaerts landing on the long-term injured list may be the best possible scenario for someone like Solano, a former Silver Slugger at second base. The 36-year-old was only just recently brought aboard on a minor league contract, but he hit .318 across 12 Triple-A contests, which falls in line with his career norms.

Solano is a high-contact player, like Arraez, but he’s a slightly better defender. He has hit above .280 every year since 2019 and is a useful veteran that can play multiple roles on the field and in the lineup. He’d be a solid option to replace Bogaerts and had a 112 OPS+ in 134 games last year, so clearly his age is not catching up with him just yet.

Tyler Wade

Another Swiss Army Knife-type of player, Wade is a light-hitting utilityman who has only ever played 100+ games one time in his eight-year career. He is the pure definition of backup utility player. Wade can line up all over the field and has the slap-hitting profile and speed on the bases to be useful, but handing him a full-time starting gig at this point would be equivalent to waving the white flag.

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Minor League Depth

The Padres have three players in Triple-A who are on the 40-man roster and play second base: Matthew Batten, Graham Pauley and Eguy Rosario.

Batten has hit well in a few big league cameos and is off to a decent start for El Paso this year, hitting .313 with a .799 OPS across 36 games. He’s another utility player with not a whole lot of pop to speak of (although he did hit 12 home runs in 86 games last year), so he wouldn’t come up and hold down any sort of full-time gig.

Pauley made his own big league debut this season and hit a pair of home runs before being demoted. He’s an intriguing player who draws a ton of walks, barely strikes out and has the power stroke that most other second base options don’t for the Padres. He hit 23 home runs and drove in 94 with a .931 just last season. If he continues to get on base a lot in Triple-A, he’s got to be one of the top options.

Rosario, 24, is fast, versatile and has been a positive contributor in the major and minor leagues to this point. He’s boasting a 122 OPS+ through 46 big league games and is hitting .286 for El Paso.


The Padres are in a tough spot and will need to identify a full-time replacement for Bogaerts quickly. The silver lining here is that there are a lot of different internal options to try out and see who sticks at the position.

If Solano and Wade fail to hold it down for the big league squad, Rosario or Pauley have to be brought up. Always stick with the hot bats, especially if you’re in a situation like the Padres where they’re barely staying afloat in the playoff standings.

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Similarly to the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation, which is full of players who are just trying to keep the team in the hunt while Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer recover from long-term injuries, San Diego just needs someone to get and stay hot for a few months until Bogaerts is back.