With December looming and free agency preparing to kick into high gear, the Padres face a dilemma in the outfield. Rookies Alex Dickerson and Travis Jankowski impressed in their time with the big league club, while prospects Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe played well in the minor leagues. The organization has also made an effort to get younger over the last few years, shown by the trades of Melvin Upton Jr., Matt Kemp and Chase Headley to name a few.
However, bringing the diminutive 31 year-old outfielder back to PETCO Park may be a good choice for the Friars, as he presents not only a left-handed strong bat capable of getting base to the top of the order, but also above average speed on the basepaths, and a solid glove with good route running abilities in the outfield. But, perhaps the most important thing Jay brings to the table is a strong veteran presence in an otherwise young locker room .
The Padres, with the second youngest roster in baseball, according to ESPN, could use a veteran like Jay to help young stars like Jankowski and Renfroe mature. Resigning Jay could also create the opportunity to trade for rotation help, as the Padres front office is already fielding offers for both Dickerson and Jankowski. Jay also brings versatility, as he plays every position in the outfield while hitting .311 versus left-handed pitchers and .282 versus right-handed pitchers.
On the other hand, Jay has already drawn interest from at least one playoff team, and he may get more money on the open market, according to Dennis Lin. The Padres may not want to commit to a long term deal with a 31 year old outfielder, especially since they are young in the outfield, and it is not by any means their first priority. The Padres desperately need rotation help, as Luis Perdomo led the club in both wins (9) and innings pitched (146.2) last year but had a whopping 5.71 ERA to show for it.
All in all, it seems as if the organization wants to bring Jay back, but it also seems as if it is a matter of price more than anything else. Look for Jay to ask for a 2 year, $17 million deal.