Padres: Josh Naylor tabbed as first baseman of future
By Ryan Sikes
Despite the DH potentially being available in the next CBA, Josh Naylor has been tabbed as the Padres first baseman of the future, according to Bleacher Report.
If given a chance, would you go back and stop the Padres from signing Eric Hosmer? He was coming off a career-year in Kansas City, but his first two years in San Diego have been a disappointment, to say the least. At first glance, his stats look passable with 22 bombs and 99 RBI, but he posted a career-worst 24.4 strikeout rate last year.
Not to mention that he hits groundballs at an alarming rate and plays subpar defense at first base. Hosmer, 30, is signed through the 2025 season, but next year is the first of five consecutive modified no-trade clauses. That means the Padres can potentially move him in a deal if they just want to be done with Hosmer, but they’ll have to eat a good chunk of his salary.
And according to Bleacher Report, Josh Naylor is viewed as his long-term replacement.
"“The San Diego Padres have made some excellent moves over the last few years to build up an impressive core of young talent and a roster on the cusp of contention. Signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal was not one of them.”"
Hosmer is likely here through the 2022 season, and thereafter, his contract drops to $13M AAV player options. No one else is going to give Hosmer that kind of money at age 33 and beyond, so again, the Padres will have to carry about half.
As for Naylor, the former Miami Marlins 12th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft struggled to keep the weight off, but he showed up to Spring Training looking slim. He was obviously on the Tony Perkis “Perkisizing” workout regimen. (any Heavyweights fans in here?)
He’s a good candidate these days to fulfill the universal DH role, given his .936 fielding percentage in the outfield. However, his bat could potentially be more vital than Hosmer’s in the long run. Naylor was sensational in the second half last year, posting a .269/.337/.450 line with 12 doubles, six home runs, and 19 RBI.
He recently turned 23 years of age, so there is ample time for him to take over at first base one day and capable of being a much better defender there as well, as demonstrated by his .984 fielding percentage in the minors. Plus, it will reduce half the occurrences that his hat falls off. Win-Win.