The San Diego Padres aren’t kidding about their interest in free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer. While they haven’t yet made a formal presentation to Hosmer, they have laid out potential plans and seem serious about this pursuit.
The Padres have never spent more than $83 million on a player (what they gave to current first baseman Wil Myers) and haven’t necessarily come into a stash of new cash. So don’t expect them to be vying for a bunch of top free agents this winter (for instance, look for them to try to fill out their rotation with cost-efficient signings like they did last year) – it may be just Hosmer they like.
The attraction to Hosmer is thought to be based on a belief he’d make a great youngish leader for a team on the rise, and Hosmer’s bona fides in this area are well-known as the leader of a Royals team that twice made the World Series and won it once. And even if they aren’t going to win in the short-term, Hosmer would get a very long deal, meaning he’d potentially line up OK for them in terms of timing.
Hosmer is an interesting case, since some analytics-favoring people will downgrade him based on a high BABIP, high groundball rate and average defensive metrics. However, there are teams that give those numbers somewhat lower weight, and San Diego apparently is one of those teams.
The Padres seemed to step out for the Myers deal, as they had never previously approached even that figure. However, one of the things they like about Myers is his versatility, and they envision a potential move to a corner outfield spot should they pull a surprise and sign Hosmer. (They also could trade Myers.)
Hosmer would still seem to be pricey for the Padres, as he could receive double what Myers got, potentially. He is thought to be seeking at least an eight-year deal, and perhaps close to $200 million considering the $180 million, eight-year deal Mark Teixeira received eight years ago. Obviously they are different players, and Teixeira had more power. But a case can be made based on MLB’s rising revenues and Hosmer’s team success that Teixeira is one somewhat-reasonable comp.
Ken Rosenthal, of The Athletic and MLB Network, first reported of the Padres’ surprise interest in Hosmer.
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