Speaking of minor league talent…
3- Josh Naylor is just one or two years away
Acquired in the 2016 trade for Andrew Cashner, Naylor was a 2015 first-round pick (twelfth overall) by the Miami Marlins. He currently the Padres’ number ten prospect, according to MLB.com.
“Naylor’s calling card is his plus-plus raw power from the left side of the plate, but it’s his natural feel for hitting that has stood out more early in his career. The Ontario native makes hard contact to all fields thanks to his plus bat speed and excellent hand-eye coordination, and he also keeps the barrel in the zone longer than most young sluggers.”
Naylor finished last season at Double-A San Antonio, so he could be ready for the big leagues by mid-season 2019. But if the Padres sign Eric Hosmer, Naylor’s path is blocked. As with Renfroe, Hedges, Margot, and Carlos Asuaje, Naylor is a young man who needs (and deserves) the chance to see what he can do at the big-league level. But he can’t do that if Eric Hosmer is blocking his path.
As an aside, signing Hosmer pushes Wil Myers into left field, which pushes Jose Pirela, one of their biggest offensive surprises of 2017, out of a job. Pirela entered 2017 barely on manager Andy Green’s radar screen, but when given the chance, he thrived, batting .288 with ten home runs and 25 doubles with a .837 OPS in 312 at-bats (83 games). Do they really want to do that after Pirela made such an impact, and to boot, is quite a bit cheaper than Hosmer would be?
4- It makes no financial sense
Unlike the deep-pocket Dodgers, the San Diego Padres cannot afford to splurge on a high-priced free agent unless it is the right one. Given their limited resources, they have to be extra careful on whom they should spend a lot of money on. They have a far smaller margin of error than their competitors.
Remember also that the Padres are still on the docket to pay their former players the following in 2018:
They only recently had to stop paying for Melvin Upton’s $11 million at the conclusion of last season.
5- The draft pick it will cost to sign him
The Padres are a team that should keep and use all of its draft selections wisely.
Eric Hosmer will cost the team that signs him as compensation pick equal to a low first-round or high second-round selection. Players taken in that range (30-45) still have a ton of potential value, and for a rebuilding team, their worth is even greater.
Should the Padres sign Eric Hosmer? Buyer beware. He could soon be joining that list and be yet another financial albatross hanging around their neck that holds the Friars back from success.
For these reasons, the Padres would be much better off taking a pass on Eric Hosmer and staying the course in their rebuild. While it might be more painful in the short term, the long-term benefits would be well worth the wait. Who knows? Down the road, say, heading into 2020, they could be one piece short of being a legitimate post-season contender. Then is the time to make a big splash on the free-agent market. Not now.