The trade the San Diego Padres need to make to sign Freddie Freeman

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning in Game Six of the World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning in Game Six of the World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres need to unload Eric Hosmer’s contract

What will it take to bring Freddie Freeman to San Diego? Saying goodbye to Eric Hosmer, apparently.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres would need to trade Hosmer – something they’re reportedly been trying to do already – and package him with a prospect (or two) in order to have payroll space.

Robert Hassell was the Padres’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft, the eighth overall selection. Since the minor league season was already over, he began his professional career at the organization’s alternate training site.

Hassell made his professional debut in 2021, splitting the season between Low and High-A. Over 110 games, he hit .303/.393/.470 with a .863 OPS, 33 doubles, four triples, and 11 home runs. He scored 87 times, drove in 76 RBI, and stole 34 bases.

Ahead of the 2022 season, Baseball America placed him at #30 on their MLB Prospect Rankings, while Baseball Prospectus had him as their #26. Clearly, he’s someone Padres would only give up if they know it will enable them to sign someone of Freeman’s caliber.

The Padres 2022 payroll is too high

The $59M remaining on Hosmer’s contract is like cement shoes weighing the club down, and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier this week that the Padres have been “aggressively shopping” both Hosmer and Wil Myers. The pricy pair are owed a combined $43.5M in salary this year, $31.83M of which counts towards the luxury tax, which is determined by the Averal Annual Value (AAV) of a contract.

Before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement raised the Competitive Balance Threshold (CBT) to $230M, the Padres were right underneath the previous threshold of $210M, with an estimated $209,669,047 counting towards the luxury tax. And because the Padres were over the threshold last season, they’d pay a larger penalty for exceeding it two years in a row.

The Padres have competition, of course. It’s not like clearing Hosmer’s contract off the books is the only roadblock to Freeman or any other big free-agent talent. However, with Fernando Tatis Jr. undergoing surgery on his fractured wrist that will sideline him for approximately three months, the Padres may be desperate enough to do something crazy.

And according to former GM-turned-insider Jim Bowden, Freeman and his agents may have overplayed their hand in asking for the big bucks:

All this to say, anything is possible.

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