Can the San Diego Padres' Christian Bethancourt pull off playing pitcher and catcher? Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres are a franchise that has become accustomed to losing, and there are many reasons why they haven’t had a .500 or better record since 2010.

Whether it’s overpaying free agents, bringing in players with attitude problems or their poor farm system, it’s clear the Padres aren’t getting much better anytime soon, while the rest of the NL West is an arms race.

Recently, the team detailed its plan to have Christian Betancourt be used as a two-way player, where he would both pitch and catch. After all, he did pitch an entire 1 2/3 innings last season, in blowout games that meant absolutely nothing, so clearly that qualifies. Betancourt did flash a 90+ mph fastball on the regular, but in this day and age, pitchers need at least one, if not two quality secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance.

There’s a reason we haven’t seen a two-way player in the majors since 2004, when Brooks Kieschnick made some relief appearances and also played in the outfield. As competitive as MLB is nowadays, non-infield players know they have to be an expert/specialize at one position, rather than being “pretty good” at two or three.

To his credit, Betancourt has allowed only one run in four appearances during spring training so far. He’s flashed both a two- and a four-seamer, and has been pretty good at getting hitters out. But it is only spring training after all, and we’ll see how he fares once hitters have seen more of him and he needs to utilize other pitches to get results. Going back and forth between pitching and catching is a task that may prove to be very difficult during the season.

But the Padres and manager Andy Green don’t care. It’s likely that they’re making this decision just so they can stand out and get noticed. If it works they’re geniuses. And if it fails, well, everyone expected it to fail.

QUIZ: Name every right fielder on the San Diego Padres after Tony Gwynn retired in 2001

64 players have started in right field for the San Diego Padres since Hall of Fame star Tony Gwynn retired in 2001. How many of them can you name?

Clue: Years active

* denotes non-consecutive years played with team

Score:
0/64
Time:
14:00
2002
Bubba Trammell
2002
Ryan Klesko
2002
Mark Sweeney
2002
Trent Hubbard
2002
Ron Gant
2002
Gene Kingsale
2002-2004
Brian Buchanan
2003-2014*
Xavier Nady
2003
Shane Victorino
2003
Gary Matthews
2003
Phil Nevin
2004-2009
Brian Giles
2004
Terrence Long
2005
Miguel Ojeda
2005
Robert Fick
2005
Ben Johnson
2006-2007
Terrmel Sledge
2007
Jose Cruz
2007-2008
Paul McAnulty
2007
Hiram Bocachica
2007
Rob Mackowiak
2007
Brady Clark
2008-2009
Jody Gerut
2008
Callix Crabbe
2008-2009
Edgar Gonzalez
2008
Chip Ambres
2009
Drew Macias
2009
Tony Gwynn Jr.
2009-
Will Venable
2009, 2013
Kyle Blanks
2009-2010
Oscar Salazar
2010
Jerry Hairston
2010-2014
Chris Denorfia
2010-2011
Aaron Cunningham
2010
Matt Stairs
2010
Ryan Ludwick
2010
Scott Hairston
2011
Eric Patterson
2011
Brad Hawpe
2011-2012
Blake Tekotte
2011
Andy Parrino
2011-2012
Jeremy Hermida
2012-2013
Mark Kotsay
2012-2013
Jesus Guzman
2012
Carlos Quentin
2013
Logan Forsythe
2014
Seth Smith
2014
Jeff Francoeur
2014
Rymer Liriano
2015-2016
Matt Kemp
2015
Abraham Almonte
2015-2016
Travis Jankowski
2015-2016
Wil Myers
2016
Jabari Blash
2016
Jose Pirela
2016
Alexi Amarista
2016
Melvin Upton
2016
Christian Bethancourt
2016
Patrick Kivlehan
2016
Oswaldo Arcia
2016
Alexei Ramirez
2016
Jon Jay
2016
Hunter Renfroe
2016
Manuel Margot

This article first appeared on The Sports Daily and was syndicated with permission.

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