26 Years Ago SD Missed Out on Tartabull, Will They Sign Hosmer?

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The Eric Hosmer talk is just not dying down.

With the recent signing of Mitch Moreland by the Boston Red Sox, the San Diego Padres appear to be the favorites for landing Hosmer.

I can distinctly remember 26 years ago when the San Diego Padres were reportedly close to signing a Kansas City Royal player coming off a career year. Danny Tartabull put up a .990 OPS in his final year with the Royals at the age of 28. The right-handed hitter slugged 31 homers and hit .316 on the year for Kansas City. He had a career year in his contract year and was looking to cash in on the open market.

The Padres were in search of outfield help and Tom Werner (yeah, I know), the Padres owner, was on record as stating the Padres were viable contenders for the talented outfielder. Reports were the Padres offered him a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $20-23 million. That was a very hefty sum for the ball club and the fact the team was flirting with a free agent of this caliber was certainly promising to the fans.

At the end of the day, Tartabull chose to sign with the New York Yankees for $25.5 million and five years. The Padres probably avoided an issue, as his numbers declined after a few productive seasons in New York. The Yankees could survive a bad contract, but a smaller market team like the Padres could have been crippled by that kind of long-term deal.

Fast forward to now and the Padres are once again infatuated with a 28-year-old Kansas City Royal player. This time it is a first baseman.

Eris Hosmer would be a fantastic fit for the club. Nobody is arguing that. However his asking price, and what he will sign for, is certainly of concern to the Padres and their fans. Presently the Padres are free of long-term, burdensome contracts, and that is a good thing. Besides a few seasons of Hector Olivera, the team does not have to pay much in terms of money. Committing to Hosmer at $20-25 million in five or six years could be very bad business.

Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the answer is to get creative with his contract. Let’s say in the end, Hosmer gets a six-year deal at $130 million from the Friars. The Padres could pay him $25 million in his first three seasons of the deal, then split the remaining $55 million between the final three seasons. An average of $18.33 million for his age 30-33 seasons would be a better pill to swallow and allow the team to pay their young players who will contributing at the major league level by then.

Typically, players want their yearly pay to be staggered the opposite way, but Hosmer seems to be a team player, and could be on board with this thought process. He would certainly enjoy being paid like one of the top first baseman for the first three years of the deal. A.J. Preller is a creative man. He prides himself in thinking outside the box and getting the job done.

If the Padres can get creative with a Hosmer deal, then the two sides make sense. If the team has to pay Hosmer $25 million or more per year when he is 33, then we could have serious issues. He could age like a fine wine and certainly still be productive, but the Padres just do not have the payroll flexibility to gamble.

The Red Sox appear to be out and the price tag on Hosmer seems to be getting reasonable. If the Padres sign the first baseman, then this will certainly signify that the Dark Ages are over in San Diego. Will this team be competitive in 2018? That’s very unlikely, but at the very least they could be fun to watch, and growth is taking place at the minor league level. Like Danny Tartabull, the flirtation is real with Hosmer and the Padres. Like before, it will all come down to dollars and cents – how much money the slugger wants and how much his price tag makes sense for the long-term growth of this franchise.

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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.

12 thoughts on “26 Years Ago SD Missed Out on Tartabull, Will They Sign Hosmer?

  1. Hosmer’s contract will not make sense on any planet in this solar system, including earth. And just to assume we are signing him, who exactly are we bidding against? The Royals? I doubt it.

  2. Note to self: have a solid trade secured BEFORE you try to trade-and-flip an overpriced player that no one wants.

  3. I am afraid of the Padres bidding against themselves. What other team is willing to pay a lot for him? Hosmer has value, but this is not a position of need. It is worth waiting out the market to see how much more affordable he might become. Could he dip to 10 to 12 mil? How many times have teams come out on the better end, or the worse end, after signing a Boras agent? Meyers in the OF will be cringe-worthy.

  4. Dont see the benefit of signing a guy who is?:
    A. A 4 time gold glover
    B. A two time World.Series player.
    C. World Series Champion
    D. A noted clubhouse leader
    E. A quality left handed bat
    F. Hits for average AND power
    G. All Star Game MVP @ Petco
    H. Knows how to work a count
    I. Never misses a game
    J. At age 28, as a firstbaseman, still has probably 6-8 quality years ahead of him!

    Yeah, you’re probably right, signing Hosmer makes no sense….

    1. Yes, it doesn’t … if it is for as high as reported, if the Padres have already invested the most money by far in the same position, if the Padres already traded away their highly coveted shortstop to get the same firstbaseman (whom they grossly overpaid, and now want to move). Even if they sign him for 4 to 5 years at 15 million (which Boras would reject) then they have just effectively duplicated the same overpay at the same least-important-position. It would have helped if they didn’t throw away 13 million on a player they don’t even want (Headley)!!!!

    2. It doesn’t make sense for our payroll if he garners over 100 mill, which he obviously will . Where does it make sense to break another franchise record in contract money? AJ has been theoretically great with stockpiling young talent, his big contracts though, have been a laugh.

      Agreed, Hosmer is ideal for this squad, but if he’s 30% of the payroll each year for the next five, where is the money for a front line starter? For a 3B? For an OF who can hit? Unless of course, the Pads are ready to not be a small market club, I don’t understand the financial logic.

  5. I just don’t see the benefit of signing Hosmer at this time, with the potential contract and the loss of our 2nd round pick.

    1. quality people have been a bust with a 2nd round pick. it’s just a pick, if you’re scouts and player development are good, i don’t see why giving up a 2nd and paying him 6 yr 120 is such a terrible thing

      1. because…

        it is an extreme overpay
        it is WAY too much money for firstbase (for a high quality starting pitcher or shortstop? yes)
        it is a position ALREADY filled by the highest paid (by FAR) Padres player
        it is not a position of need
        it is the position that is the easiest to fill, so why pay SO MUCH money for that?
        there are many other areas of need
        at this point the Padres are likely bidding against themselves (and Boras is asking/demanding WAY TOO MUCH)

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