Kingsale a Padre, Outfield Crowded?

Gene Kingsale has agreed to a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres. Kingsale, 27, hit just .208 for the Tigers in 103 at bats and was subsequently released by Detroit. The move may have actually tipped the hand of what the Friars will do the rest of this offseason.

Gene Kingsale is considered a fourth or fifth outfielder and Kevin Towers told the Union Tribune, "The Tigers looked at him as an everyday player; we don't."

After the Padres acquired Kingsale off waivers in June 2002, Kingsale hit a team-best .392 (20-for-51) with runners in scoring position and batted .283 overall on the season in 200+ at bats. Kingsale, a switch-hitter, was also 6-for-11 as a pinch hitter.

Kingsale was traded to Detroit for Mike Rivera who was later waived.

The move brings into question what will happen with the rest of the outfield. Eric Owens is still being courted by the team to bring some speed off the bench. Brian Buchanon and Gary Matthews Jr. are both arbitration eligible and if one or all are signed, where does that leave Xavier Nady.

The likelihood is one of the Padres outfielders will be used as trade bait. Depending on the move, it could mean Nady or Mark Kotsay.

Nady is the bigger chip and could net a return of Jason Kendall. That move would also clear Kevin Jarvis from the books. The Athletics are still believed to be interested in Kotsay as they look to replace Terrance Long.

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