Eric Hosmer received the biggest deal of any free agent this winter. But even he had to sweat it out.
He didn’t receive any offers until the new year. It was one day in January when he heard from the two teams that seriously pursued him, and what’s really odd is that after waiting a couple months, he received two offers that were very similar within a half-hour of each other.
The San Diego Padres called with a $134 million, seven-year offer; the Kansas City Royals called with a $131 million, seven-year offer offer – though K.C.’s bid was contingent on ownership approval that never came.
Royals owner David Glass apparently decided he didn’t want to give such a long deal, and eventually the Royals made a bid of $100 million for five years, as Robert Murray of FanRag reported.
The Padres’ deal contains an opt-out after five years for Hosmer, so it may end up being exactly $100 million over five years as well, but it provides him an option. While Hosmer wound up with the big deal of a strange winter, top Padres people are okay with it, loving the fact they got a leader for their young, up-and-coming team.
What’s also interesting is that the Padres hired Dave Cameron of Fangraphs earlier in the winter, and Padres GM A.J. Preller knew that Cameron had publicly suggested that Hosmer was the one prominent free agent this winter that was not worth the big bucks predicted for him; on that score, Preller said he appreciates Cameron’s interesting takes on all sorts of things, and heard him out on this one, but was still determined to make Hosmer the centerpiece of the winter, even though they had opposite opinions.
In the end, Hosmer may have been a little disappointed that none of the usual big free-agent players ever got involved – i.e. the Red Sox and Yankees – but is impressed with all the young talent that puts the Padres in position to contend in a couple years. They are aiming to be great in 2020 (though they don’t announce that, and don’t preclude the possibility they could wind up ahead of schedule).
There are great signs around him, with Fernando Tatis and Luis Urias looking like they fit in already in camp. Hosmer is impressed by what he sees and envisions another situation like Kansas City, where they had aa few growing pains before becoming a power and reaching consecutive World Series.
In this age of analytics, Hosmer, they believe, is the leader they needed.