The San Diego Padres have tried, and often failed, to build sustainable winners via the free agent market. After trading away Anthony Rizzo and going into multiple seasons extremely thin at first base, the Padres appeared to have solved their issues for good when they agreed to sign with Eric Hosmer.
After leading the Kansas City Royals to a championship and clubbing 50 home runs in the last two years of his Midwestern tenure, Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million deal with San Diego. Unfortunately, that contract quickly turned into an albatross.
The Padres acquired Luke Voit before the 2022 season and later sent Hosmer to the Boston Red Sox in order to acquire Josh Bell. Even though the Padres have mentally turned the page on the Hosmer era, they are going to be on the hook for a huge chunk of money in the next season.
Hosmer signed with the Chicago Cubs for the minimum of $720,000 this season, but the Padres will have to pay put the remaining $38 million on Hosmer's contract. AJ Preller and this front office are now well aware of the fact that spending money without a play can lead to contracts like this.
The San Diego Padres own Eric Hosmer a ton of money.
Hosmer only had one season with more than 18 home runs in San Diego, and he never hit above .270 in a full season despite his .318 average during his final season in Kansas City. When paired with declining defense and plate discipline, Hosmer never lived up to the billing in San Diego.
The Padres should have known that Hosmer might not be the best fit. On top of the fact that he was never going to be the power threat San Diego expected him to be due to his left-handed swing and Petco Park's dimensions, Hosmer's final season screamed contract-year anomaly.
The silver lining is the fact that All-Star infielder Jake Cronenworth is moving over to first this season, potentially filling a hole that has been a constant source of underperformance for the last few seasons. The pop and defense this team was missing at first will finally come into play.
The Cubs are taking chances on rehabilitating former All-Stars, as Hosmer and Cody Bellinger both plan to factor into Chicago's lineup this season. Hosmer might be a tougher prodject than the former MVP, as it's been a half-decade since he was last effective.