Iguchi smart addition by Padres 

December, 15, 2007
12/15/07
11:20
AM ET
Tadahito Iguchi turned down several multi-year offers to agree to a one-year contract with San Diego, which is a small boon for the Padres, who get a capable player at a position that was a sinkhole for them in 2007.

Iguchi is an average defender with good hands and solid but unspectacular range. At the plate, he works the count and makes a lot of contact, but doesn't take many walks. He has some pop, although his homer total will probably take a significant hit with the move to Petco Park. San Diego got a .247/.320/.342 line from its second basemen in 2007, the second-worst line by OPS in the National League (only San Francisco was worse, at .226/.304/.337), making Iguchi an upgrade even if he doesn't repeat his 2005-'06 numbers.

The move also allows the Padres to leave Matt Antonelli, their first-round pick in 2006, in the minors for another year. Antonelli, a shortstop at Wake Forest before he was drafted, has struggled at second base in the pros, and at the least he needs more reps at the position before he can come play it in the majors. His defensive issues, however, are large enough that he may have to move to center field, which would take more advantage of his speed and lessen his problems with reaction times.

So if Iguchi plays well in San Diego in 2008 and the Padres aren't happy with Antonelli's progress on defense, the club could try to re-sign Iguchi for '09 and shift Antonelli once they know Iguchi's in the fold for the long term. Flexibility is always a good thing in baseball, and the Padres gained some while also making their club better in 2008.

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