It’s no secret that the Padres are interested in Eric Hosmer. Any Padres’ rumors are going to circulate around Hosmer until he picks his eventual landing spot.
And it’s no secret why, as Hosmer has been one of the better in the league during his time in the majors. During his seven year career he’s hit .284 with 127 home runs, 566 RBIs and 60 stolen bases. He’s also a one time All-Star and four time Gold Glove winner.
For now, it appears that the Padres are the only suitor for Hosmer. However he remains unsigned. If San Diego continues to wait on signing him, perhaps other teams will get involved.
But if the Padres miss out on signing Hosmer, they still have a boatload of cap space. It seems unlikely that they would just let that sit, even with a much better free agent class next offseason.
Eric Hosmer still seems like the most likely addition, but if the Padres miss out, what big-name free agents could the Friars sign?
Mike Moustakas, Third Base
If you can’t sign Hosmer, why not sign his former teammate?
Chase Headley nor Yangervis Solarte are the future at third base. Neither is Cory Spangenberg. Perhaps Fernando Tatis Jr. could move to third if Freddy Galvis is retained, but for the most part the Padres do not have a long-term fixture at the hot corner.
Mike Moustakas is a big name that hasn’t been getting a lot of hype this offseason. As the weeks go by his price will only drop more and more. The Padres should consider signing him for cheaper than Hosmer and finishing their rebuild built around him.
Over his seven year career, Moustakas has appeared in 836 games, hitting .251 with 119 home runs, 379 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He’s a two time All-Star and is coming off an All-Star campaign in 2017.
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Adding Moustakas would give the Padres a power bat in the middle of their lineup while allowing Wil Myers to remain at first base. Moustakas has double digit home runs and 40+ RBIs in every season he has appeared in over 90 games.
Moustakas is also the right age for the Padres to target. San Diego would bring in Hosmer because they feel he could help take them to the next level of the rebuild. Moustakas is just one year older than Hosmer, meaning he could help take the team to new heights.
The former Royals’ third baseman does bring some injury concerns as he has never appeared in more than 149 games. But if he could remain healthy then he would be one of the Padres’ leaders in home runs for years to come.
Not many teams have been connected to Mike Moustakas. If the Padres fail to land Hosmer, they can look to add his former teammate and build around the former two time All-Star.
Addison Reed, Relief Pitcher
If the Padres want to bolster one area of their roster, relief pitcher may be the spot to target. San Diego already has All-Star Brad Hand in tow. If they were to bring in another top-flight reliever, they could put together one of the better 1-2 punches in the MLB.
Hand has already proven he knows what it takes to succeed. In his two years with the Padres he has compiled a 2.56 ERA with a 215/56 K/BB ratio and 22 saves. He was voted to the 2016 All-Star game.
Hand has been in numerous trade rumors, and there’s still a decent chance he’s dealt. However in this scenario the Padres decide to build around him and add to their bullpen rather than subtract. If this becomes the case, Hand would likely remain the closer meaning players like Wade Davis and Greg Holland aren’t likely to sign.
One player who could be interested however is setup man Addison Reed.
Reed has been in the MLB for the past seven seasons, playing for the White Sox, Diamondbacks, Mets and Red Sox. For his career he holds a 3.40 ERA with a 425/104 K/BB ratio and 125 saves.
Reed was a closer during the early portions of his career, and for a stretch with the Mets last season. But when he was traded to the Red Sox he turned into a full-time setup man. In 29 games with Boston he accrued a 3.33 ERA and a 28/9 K/BB ratio.
Going from Hosmer to Reed would certainly upset some fans, and he’s undoubtedly the cheapest player on this list. But he’s also the player that makes the most sense.
San Diego has a first baseman in Wil Myers and has multiple starting pitchers in the minors. They had Hand but outside of him are lacking in the bullpen. Bringing in Reed gives the Padres a veteran setup man who could help straighten out the bullpen.
If the Padres are serious about contending in the next two years, having a solid bullpen is key. They could get a head-start on the competition by adding Reed and pairing him with one of the best closers in the league.
There were also reports that Reed was close to a deal with the Phillies, another team who is exciting their rebuild. If the money is there, it seems likely that Reed would sign.
Addison Reed might not be the brightest star on the free agent market. But he is arguably the best setup man available. Bringing him to San Diego would bolster the team’s bullpen and give the Padres one of the best back end of the bullpen in all the major leagues.
Jake Arrieta, Starting Pitcher
Admittedly, this is the least likely of the bunch. However if the Padres were serious about competing and offered the money, perhaps Arrieta would take a chance on San Diego. We saw this last season as Zack Grienke signed with the Diamondbacks for a massive contract.
Arrieta has had a career resurgence during his past four seasons with Chicago. During that span he has pitched to a 68-31 record with a 2.73 ERA and a 793/244 K/BB ratio over 128 games. He has also been named an All-Star and won the 2015 NL CY Young award.
Arrieta is one of the top free agent starters on the market this year with only Yu Darvish being in the same tier. However Darvish is coming off of a World Series loss whereas Arrieta won the 2016 World Series. Already having a ring to his name, it’s more likely that Arrieta chases a ring.
Arrieta seems unlikely to be going back to Chicago. There have been no reports of the Cubs showing interest and they have already met with Darvish. It’s unlikely that Chicago would offer the money that Arrieta is chasing.
San Diego on the other hand would certainly offer the money and have him function as their team’s ace. He would undoubtedly be the Padres’ Opening Day starter and the leader of the rotation for years to come. With many starting pitchers coming up through the minors, adding a pitcher like Arrieta would help them in their transition to the big leagues.
The Diamondbacks saw success after they signed Grienke, making the playoffs for the first time since 2011 in 2017. The Padres could look to follow that business model with Arrieta.
Arrieta would certainly cost more, but he fits a much higher need. The Padres would have to sell him on starting something new in San Diego, but after already finding success in Chicago it might be worth it.
Adding Jake Arrieta gives the Padres a veteran star to help lead their young pitching staff and a player to build around for the next half decade.