Alexi Amarista arrived on the San Diego Padres by way of the Los Angeles Angels as a starting second baseman, but by the time the season ended, Mighty Mouse was mostly relegated to pinch-hit duties, only getting the occasional start while Logan Forsythe (who made a late entrance due to a pre-season injury) entrenched himself at second base.
Forsythe certainly showed himself to be capable at the plate, putting together a .273/.343/.390 triple slash over his 350 PA, even showing a bit of pop with six homers in that span. That said, arguably the bigger part of the value he provides to the Padres has to do with his versatility – the 26-year old played both second and third base last year, and the team has big plans for him to expand that skill set even more in 2013, recently getting Forsythe to take fly balls in the outfield and reps at short in hopes of turning him into a super-utility man next season.
That’s a role that the second baseman could thrive in. Forsythe will have Amarista, also a utilty-man himself, on his heels, and may eventually find himself sharing time between a mix of roles, especially considering the team’s three outfielders – Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, and Will Venable each come with their own unique sets of questions. But unlike Amarista, Forsythe’s .733 OPS compare favorably to Venable’s .764 last year, and he also showed decent (if not Venable-like) speed on the basepaths, swiping eight out of ten attempts over 350 PA.
In essence, Forsythe could be the Padre’s own baseball Swiss Army knife, a player who can put up numbers that don’t hurt you in every category, even if he’s not spectacular in any of them.
With a team that has an uncertain middle infield (will Everth Cabrera hit enough to make his lightning-quick speed worthwhile?), and an outfield that features two very inconsistent hitters in Venable and Maybin, the Padres are undoubtedly going to be in a state of flux throughout the season, as the pieces shift and the team attempts to find a fit.
Forsythe might not be a high-impact super-utility man like Ben Zobrist, but if he could replicate his success at the plate in 2012, he will give the Padres an element of stability in all areas of the field that is too often overlooked in the game.