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Currently, Luis Sardinas and Jose Rondon are the only shortstops on the club's 40-man roster. Rondon, the team's No. 12 prospect, isn't quite ready for a big league job. Sardinas, meanwhile, was solid for the Padres last season, batting .287/.353/.417 in 34 games after being acquired in mid-August.
"Sardinas showed, in a brief stint, that he has the capability to be a solid Major League player," Preller said. "There are some things he needs to work on, some areas he needs to improve with.
"I don't think he showed us he's going to be a lockdown guy there for the next three years. But he showed he has a chance to compete for that job."
The crop of free-agent shortstops is notably thin, with Aybar, Ruben Tejada and Stephen Drew as the primary options. There aren't many buyers on the shortstop market either, so it stands to reason Preller would pursue a trade.
The lower levels of the Padres system are deep at short, meaning they might simply be looking to fill the void for a year or two. But shortstop prospects -- who don't always pan out and often switch positions -- can be tricky.
"Everything's pretty fluid," Preller said. "It's moving. You're trying to figure out: Do you want to fill that role through, potentially, more of a stopgap option? Do you want to fill that role with somebody that can compete with Sardinas? Or do we want to make a more significant trade?"
News and notes
• Preller said the Friars are not actively shopping third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who has been the subject of some trade speculation this week. He reiterated the Padres are comfortable hanging on to Solarte, who has three years of team control remaining.
"He's a guy that we definitely get hit on from other clubs," Preller said. "I think from our standpoint, we'll listen, but we're not actively out there trying to drum up a market or anything like that."
• Second baseman Cory Spangenberg -- who played only 14 games last season because of a left quad tear -- has returned to full health. He is currently working out at Petco Park, but will forego winter ball.
• After trading Derek Norris and non-tendering Hector Sanchez, the Padres are looking to add a third catcher, Preller said. Sanchez remains an option to return, and the Padres have already begun reaching out to some of their non-tendered players about the possibility of signing Minor League contracts.