Eric Hosmer is currently the biggest focal point in the San Diego Padres’ offseason. You cannot read a Padres’ rumor without seeing Hosmer involved. Which makes sense, as he is a “big-name” free agent a team like the Padres wouldn’t sign. Fans are interested to see if their team will actually pull the trigger and sign him to a deal, or if this is all smoke.
Over his seven year career, Hosmer has appeared in 1,048 games, hitting .284 with 127 home runs, 566 RBIs and 90 stolen bases. He’s been voted to one All-Star game -winning MVP of said game- and is a four time Gold Glove winner. The first baseman was also a member of the 2015 World Champion Royals team.
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The idea behind signing Hosmer is that he could help lead the team’s young core into the future. Since he has succeeded in the past and knows what it takes to win a championship, perhaps Hosmer is the bridge from farm system success to championships.
The only problem is that Hosmer would likely cost $100+ million. That would far surpass Wil Myers’ $83 million contract, the highest in team history. With San Diego likely not contending until at least 2019, it may not be worth it to be spend this much money.
Apparently this rift in thinking has caused some problems inside the Padres’ front office. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, San Diego is “split” on whether to sign Eric Hosmer or not. He wrote:
There is a deep split of opinion within the San Diego Padres organization about whether the pursuit of Eric Hosmer is the right thing for the team to do at this time. Hosmer would be the leader of a group of developing young players in 2018 and 2019, but with enormous holes in the rotation, the Padres don’t appear close to contending with the Dodgers in the immediate future. If San Diego gave Hosmer a big-money deal — and at the winter meetings, the buzz among executives was that the Padres were prepared to invest about $120 million over six years — then Hosmer might start to decline at about the time the team started to turn the corner.
But the Padres certainly have the payroll flexibility to gamble on Hosmer or some other player: San Diego has only $7 million committed to player contracts in 2019; Wil Myers is the only player in the organization with a contract containing guaranteed dollars beyond ’19. (His back-loaded deal gets very expensive in 2020, 2021 and 2022, at $22.5 million annually.)
As Olney notes, the Padres were sold on offering Hosmer a six year/$120 million contract at the Winter Meetings. Something between now and then has scared the team off of him. However just because they’re split doesn’t mean they’re out on him completely. There’s still a chance they match for him, it just may take longer.
There were earlier reports that the Padres wanted to sign Hosmer by Christmas, but clearly that is no longer the case. Whether their contract offer is still on the table is not currently known either.
The Padres could certainly use a player like Hosmer. Adding a Gold Glove level player who can mash in the middle of the lineup would make them better going forward. Plus he could help mentor all the young prospects coming up to the majors shortly.
However the front office is right to have a sense of caution. The NL West is only getting putting with the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks all playoff teams and the Giants looking to get back to contention. Perhaps they should use 2018 as another rebuilding year before they jump back in the mix.
Overall, it appears the Eric Hosmer saga isn’t going away anytime soon. It may take sometime for San Diego decides if the former All-Star is their guy or not. For now it appears that luckily the Royals are their only competition.
Eric Hosmer would be a great addition to the Padres for many years to come. However San Diego has to be careful they don’t spend too much too soon. Fans will just have to wait and see if the Friars break the bank to land the former World Series star.