The San Diego Padres are going for this. They really are. But in order to complete the roster shakeup before July 30, the team is rumored to be shopping Eric Hosmer for a trade.
Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin wrote of the possibility of the Padres dealing Hosmer at The Athletic recently. And who can blame them? After signing an eight-year, $144 million deal with him in February 2018, the first baseman has rewarded them with approximately replacement-level play.
This year Hosmer is batting .265/.327/.378, good for a wRC+ of 96 — or in layman’s terms, he’s hitting worse than the average batter. He’s also worse in the field as well as worse on the base paths.
An Eric Hosmer trade won’t be easy for the Padres
All that for the low, low cost of $20 this season. Of course then he is owed $20 next season, $13 million the season after that, another $13 million a year later, and a final $13 million in 2025.
The possible market for Hosmer is cut even shorter by his no-trade clause. Per Ken Rosenthal (via MLB Trade Rumors), Hosmer has listed 10 teams he has to sign off on a deal for: the Athletics, Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Pirates, and Tigers.
That cuts the market of teams willing to overpay for an aging player down by a third right off the top.
The clock is ticking to get a deal done. Hosmer will receive 10-and-5 rights after the 2022 season. Once a player has 10 years of service time, five of those with his current club, he has the right to block a trade to any team at all.
Padres need to trade Eric Hosmer for CBT reasons too
Besides the on-field reasons and the possibility of throwing $59 million dollars plus into a sinkhole during the next few years, there’s another reason for the Padres to get a deal done:
They have become *very* big spenders.
Their competitive balance tax (CBT) payroll comes in at $206 million, per Spotrac. Rosenthal noted that, per MLB’s calculations, the Padres are about $2 million over the threshold. $18 million of that is due to Hosmer (calculations are based on the average salary rather than that exact year.)
Even with the Pirates reportedly picking up a large chunk of Adam Frazier’s salary after the Padres acquired him over the weekend, that’s still territory the team doesn’t want to be in, and could hamstring them for future deals.
Can a deal get done? While never-say-never is good advice, it’s going to take a fair amount of creativity, probably some money, and some relatively high level prospects to move the contract off the books.