A common sense solution to the Padres ‘problem’ with Wil Myers

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What can the San Diego Padres do with Wil Myers? Here is a solution to the team’s problem.

The San Diego Padres’ tortured relationship with Wil Myers may have reached its nadir during the dickering between Boston, and San Diego centered around how much of his contract the Red Sox would have absorbed in a potential trade of Mookie Betts. Unfortunately, Betts seems to have ended up with the nemesis to the north, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Since general manager A.J. Preller traded Trea Turner for Myers in December 2014, the relationship has been strained. Turner’s early success in Washington D.C. and his ability to play shortstop (a gaping hole in the San Diego infield for years) put pressure on Myers, and he became the poster child for Preller’s early missteps.

After the latest humiliating turn of events for Myers, the Padres should pivot and make peace with him. Myers undoubtedly hasn’t forgotten being named the “Face of the Franchise” and then supplanted at first by Eric Hosmer and his $144 million contract in February of 2018. Nor will he easily forget being stuck at third base for 324.2 innings in 2018, a position he had not played regularly since 2012 when he was in the Kansas City Royals farm system.

Although an apology might be in order, the chances of that happening are slim to none. But the Padres would be wise to signal a change in their attitude toward the former Rookie of the Year (2013 for the Tampa Bay Rays). Any trade will require paying a large portion of his salary, so he might as well play for his pay rather than molder on the bench.

The Padres’ new manager Jayce Tingler, reported to be a great communicator, might be the perfect man for the job. Tingler should assure Myers that the team values his combination of speed and power and promise him playing time in the outfield and at first especially when the Padres face a left-handed pitcher. Since Eric Hosmer bats .231/.281/.321/.601 against lefties as compared to Myers .233/.365/.512/.877, that seems like a no brainer. Myers also would be an upgrade over Hosmer defensively at first. According to FanGraphs, in 2019, Hosmer rated -4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). In 2016 and 17, when Myers played regularly at first, he rated at 9 DRS.

Newcomer Tommy Pham will probably get the majority of starts in left, despite his subpar defense (-11 Outs Above Average as opposed to Myers’ 2 OAA). But Myers would be a defensive upgrade over any of the players vying for right except Trent Grisham, who played just 51 games with the Brewers last year.

Myers certainly proved his worth in 2016 (when he was named the National League Player of the Month in June and made the All-Star team that July), and his success continued into 2017. In January of that year, the Padres signed Myers to an $80 million six-year extension. At the time, that was the most generous contract ever doled out by the San Diego Padres, but it has since been dwarfed by the contracts for Hosmer and Manny Machado.

In both those years, Myers primarily played first base (1294.0 innings in 2016, 1333.0 in 2017). While he’s not the second coming of Lou Gehrig, he earned a wRC+ of 114 and 107 those two years, compared to Hosmer’s  wRC+ of 95 and wRC+ 91 in his time in San Diego.

Offensively Hosmer has not been much of an upgrade at first. In 2018 he batted .253/.322/.398/.309, in 2019 .265/.310/.425/.309. In those past two years, Myers has a batting line of .253/.318/.446/.328 and .239/.321/.418/.316.  Neither obviously mimic Albert Pujols in his prime.

The Padres have plenty of reasons to want to move on from Myers. He hasn’t lived up to expectations, and he can be a bit of a space cadet who lacks intensity at times. Unless another team swoops in offering to pay most if not all of the $20 million yearly salary owed Myers, the Padres need to make amends and take advantage of his skillset. Encouraging rather than humiliating the man just might bring back the player he proved he could be early on in his tenure with the Padres.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.

35 thoughts on “A common sense solution to the Padres ‘problem’ with Wil Myers

  1. thanks Diane for solving the Myers problem. Hosmer was pretty bad at 1B last year and Myers needs to be in a regular situation. His OF is kind of shaky, okay in general.
    The real problem, as identified by others, is Preller. Renfroe for Pham was not a great trade, he got very little for Franmil, and now he wants to move Myers (his mistake) by throwing in Cal Quantrill. I really hope this is Preller’s last year with the Padres and I hope the owners are looking for their next GM as we speak.

    1. Hello Padre Paul,
      The solution makes sense to me and to you, but it’s doubtful that Myers will get regular playing time especially at first. Hosmer’s ridiculous salary makes Myers’ ridiculous salary look less significant.
      And now, Myers is subjected to more trade rumors. I know he’s a bit of a space cadet, but it must be really distressing to have your team dis you repeatedly.
      Your wish that this is Preller’s last year may very well come true. Fowler is as fed up as you are.
      Diane

  2. Diane, this is the best article I’ve read about the Padres in a long time. Great job! Myers was injury prone in the outfield and worked hard to excel at first base. He finally felt comfortable at first base, so he signed a long-term contract. Then Preller made a huge mistake by supplanting him with Hosmer, making Myers unhappy and forcing him back into the outfield. A large part of the game is psychological. What goes on in Myers’ mind when he signs a long-term contract ( as the Padres first baseman), only to see Preller sign Hosmer and force Myers into a platoon in the outfield with Renfroe, Jankowski, Reyes, and others. You are one of the very few people to correctly point out that Pham and Hosmer are subpar defenders, with Pham arriving at the expense of Renfroe, who worked hard to become an excellent right fielder. With Hosmer, Pham, Jurickson, Mejias, and Myers (a good first baseman but a bad center fielder) Preller has assembled a bad defense that is going to frustrate Padres pitchers and prevent them from making the playoffs.

    1. Hello Eric,
      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your high praise. Writing can be such a lonely pastime, but your comments make the time spent worthwhile.
      Although the trade for Myers receives much of the negativity, I feel that signing Hosmer to that ludicrous contract is the biggest mistake by far. The Padres basically bid against themselves.
      As for defense, I couldn’t agree more. But Preller seems to put little value on defense (Hedges being a perfect example).
      Diane

  3. Diane, you hit the same nail on the head I’ve been talking about for months and with Will’s off season last year trading him was a pipe dream. The fact of the matter is we’re committed to Will and his 20 million this year and to pay a player who’s capable of 30 home runs and one of the fastest base runners on the team he need to be in the lineup. Platoon him with Hosmer against lefty’s and some playing time at the 7 or 9 spot when his bat wakes up. Tingler is just the man to support and motivate him, Will needs to up his work effort and play with a huge chip on his shoulder and stick it to the front office!

    1. Hello Jerry,
      Great minds think alike… The solution to the Wil Myers’ “problem” is so obvious it’s worrisome that it seemingly hasn’t occurred to the folks in charge.
      In fact, this will be a good test of Tingler’s skills in communication, motivation, etc.
      Let’s hope that Myers plays up to his potential and does “stick it to the front office!”
      Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting.
      Diane

    2. Hi Jerry,
      You’re absolutely right that trading Myers, at least under the terms the Padres have demanded, is a pipe dream. Myers didn’t pay himself that extension, the Padres did. The team needs to own that and make the most of his talent, rather than screwing him around and then trying to offload him.
      This will be a good test of Tingler’s motivational abilities.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.
      Diane

  4. I enjoyed all of the comments as well as a very well written and informative article by Diane. I have been a Padre fan for 50 years and yes most of them not to pleasant. However I do have a solution to this problem. Please just get rid of your GM AJ. Problem solved and let’s move on. Never liked his moves and guys and gals he basically did nothing this winter to make this a playoff team. No front line starter, no second baseman who can hit over 220, no left hand hitting right fielder and no natural center fielder who can hit and play the position well
    However I do like our bullpen. That being said since I now live in Arizona I plan on attending several games this Spring

    1. Hello Gary,
      Thanks so much for your high praise. I too am a long time Padre fan still fueled by that magic run in 1998. But that was a long, long time ago…
      I agree completely about a front line starting pitcher and other unmet needs. I’m also concerned about valuing offense far more than defense. Your wish about A. J. Preller may come true if the team that he’s put together can’t improve the bottom line dramatically.
      We’ll be going to spring training too and just enjoying the fact that baseball is back.
      Diane

  5. Agree 110% with your assessment of the Myers situation. Another idea is to move Hosmer straight up for Price since the Dodgers trade with the Red Sox is falling through. The salaries are pretty close.

    1. Thanks, Bill,
      I especially like the 110%. Trading Hosmer for Price would be an upgrade. However, there’s no chance Preller trades Hosmer. He’d be admitting his very expensive mistake.
      Diane

  6. “Lack of intensity at times” is an understatement. Wil Myers has the ability to be a HOF candidate but he appears to play like a dis-interested diva. He looks like he emptied his bong before going to his at bats. He is wasting his talent. Someone should tell him he only gets one shot at life, don’t blow it! The fans are so hoping that he wants to play like a $20 million player. He can but he has to want it. Come on Wil! Do you want to be a footnote or one of the best players in the league? Help the team shock the league and win the west. Go Pads!

    1. Hello NorCalPadsFan,
      You absolutely nailed it. Wil Myers has all the tools except the one between his ears. He does appear to play “like a dis-interested diva.” These guys all have to have big egos, but how much of his has been squashed by the way he’s been supplanted and humiliated? That’s why someone in this organization needs to actually encourage him.
      If he plays up to his potential, he could be the best outfielder the Padres have this year.
      Diane

  7. Let’s not forget Myers playing video games in the clubhouse and live streaming it…he was caught bashing Preller, Green and the Padres organization. The apology was weak. Yes, he has not been treated well by the Padres. However, his attitude towards the team has been equally poor. Remember, he was “too good” to take defensive grounders at 3rd? Just saying the issues are two sided. That being said, a platoon at First Base might be the only possible solution to start the season.

    1. Hi Greg,
      Darn. I should have included that incident, which obviously affected his relationship with the team. It also showed incredibly poor judgment let alone common sense.
      The Padres could have sent him on his way in the trade with Boston but refused to pay enough of his salary (and admit their mistake).
      Neither the team nor Myers comes out looking good in this fiasco.
      Diane

  8. Diane I totally agreed. Who knows how it would have went for the Padres and Meyers if he would have been kept at first. Making and naming him the face of the franchise was a mistake. Then bringing in Hosmer just multiplied it. Hopefully they will play him at first against lefties and restore some of his self esteem. He’s not a bad guy and they forget that many of these players are rather young without many life experiences so they will make mistakes. While expressing disdain toward there manager during games and not realizing the complaints are going live. Ah well I wish Meyers well. Nuff said.

    1. Thanks for the comment ERLking,
      The whole Myers situation has been a mess since the beginning. Then, by acquiring Hosmer, the Padres doubled down on the mistake. If I (an English major) can do the research and figure out that Hosmer is a subpar first baseman, why did the Padres fall into the trap set by Scott Boras? Why didn’t the team do a bit more digging into Myers’ character and drive at the beginning?
      Diane

  9. Diane…I couldn’t agree more…just let the man play…he surely hasn’t forgotten how…and please, somebody needs to convince Will to put on at least one batting glove…I’m convinced that alone would go a long way in solving his problems…seriously, if you’ve ever played real baseball, you’d know what I’m talking about…Please Wil… put on a frickin glove…Thanks, Diane…

    1. Hi Paul,
      I appreciate your input. At this point, the Padres need to suck it up and make the best of the lousy situation they created. Myers is one of the most talented players on the roster, and it’s up to the manager and coaches to get the most out of those talents.
      Alas, I never had the chance to play baseball. But I’ll take your word for it that Myers should wear a batting glove.
      Diane

    1. Hi Dale,

      Thanks for the positive comment. As Yogi said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.” The Padres have certainly gone out of their way to adversely affect his confidence.

      Diane

  10. I think platooning Myers with Hosmer and giving Myers more ABs in the outfield as well makes sense. I thought/hoped Myers would be moved. Not only to give him a fresh start, but to break the jam we have in the outfield.

    Myers has been spotty at best over the last couple years. One game he looks like a HOFer and the next like he belongs in AA. I don’t know if his mentality or approach, if it’s the pressure and insults, the rumors and AJ, or his lack of comfort in position and playing time. A season of support, attention, and opportunity might unlock the past ROTY and provide what we paid for. It could also boost his trade value at the break or next offseason. It could also convince us to keep him over others. I guess we’ll see.

    I think he gets more attention and bad publicity than Hosmer because Hosmer looks like he at least trying. Often, Myers does not. Plus, if you think unloading Myers contract is difficult, try unloading Hosmer!

    Deserved or not, Myers has gotten the short end of the stick the last couple years. I hope he’ll turn things around. Some confidence boosting by the new manager, consistent position and playing time, and an active excited clubhouse might help as well. Go Pads!

    1. Hello Tony,

      I completely agree with you on every point. Baseball isn’t played by robots and the Padres would be advised to support all their players, rather than tearing them down — especially in public.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment,
      Diane

  11. Nice article, and it seems many of us have discussed this previously in one way or another.

    If player A is better than player B, then does it not make perfect sense to play A over B? Yes, but not in Preller-ville. However, in this case, A is actually MUCH better than B, as you noted:

    “[Myers] earned a wRC+ of 114 and 107 those two years, compared to Hosmer’s wRC+ of 95 and wRC+ 91 in his time in San Diego” ….. as well as WM is, as you proved, significantly superior defensively.

    All of this reveals an fascinating phenomenon: countless fans rail against the superior player, while often overlooking, defending, praising, or minimizing the reality of the lesser player–AND, to make matters worse, the team itself much prefers and prioritizes the inferior player. But why?

    So, Myers is actually significantlly superior to Hosmer, BUT, EH, because he was signed for more money, and was signed to replace Myers, and was signed with much fanfare, will continue to be prioritize. And the Padres will stubbornly and irrationally play a player that makes the Padres worse. And they will do so all while sitting or displacing multiple players that will make them better….and they will probably continue to bat Hosmer 4th or 5th!

    1. Hi Tommy T,

      As always I appreciate your opinions. If I could change one thing in the last three years for the Padres it would to undo the Hosmer signing, especially for the ridiculous amount of money. Somehow the front office fell for Scott Boras’ nonsense and that was the beginning of what basically has become a campaign against Wil Myers. Unfortunately, some fans follow the team’s lead, and, before you know it, the guy is totally messed up between the ears.

      Diane

    1. Hi Dan,
      Absolutely. I fell for the Gold Glove first baseman when the Padres acquired Hosmer. Actually, he’s a sub-par first baseman. Myers is better defensively, and if he has some assurance about his future, about being treated fairly, he is perfectly capable of performing at least as well as Hosmer at the plate.
      Thanks for reading.
      Diane

      1. I agree with the platooning idea. Myers had success with SD when he was the regular 1B; being jerked all over the infield and outfield would probably mess up anybody. If he performs better at 1B, it will be easier to trade him, if they still want to (which they probably will). We don’t have a lot to lose, since he is basically not tradable at this point. Neither Myers nor Hosmer is as awful as fans make out – they are only terrible in relation to their contracts, and those contracts also make it much harder for the club to make other moves. So I understand the frustration – I feel it too!

        Which makes it ironic that the same fans who disparage these mega-contracts are desperate for the team to sign more mega-contracts (e.g., Stephen Strasburg).

        I don’t know how feasible this is in the current MLB environment, but I would like to propose that contracts be structured around performance – if the performance is not there, the money is not either. That’s how it is for most of us in the real world – we don’t receive million-dollar deals that pay off whether we perform or not.

        1. Hello Padre Fan,
          Thanks for your input. I hadn’t factored in the increase in Myers’ trade value into the equation. But the bottom line is that the Padres have hurt the team’s performance by marginalizing a talented player. Who can forget Nick Martini in left field last season?
          The contracts for both Myers and Hosmer make their deficiencies stick out. If the Padres had just left Myers at first and not signed Hosmer, the team would be better off defensively and have more financial flexibility.
          There’s not a chance in hell the players union signs on to contracts structured around performance.
          Diane

    2. There is a couple holes in your numbers, Myers was no where near the same defensively at 1B in 2017 as he had been in 2016. Hence the reason they got Hosmer.

      Myers has had two half season where is batting was good, 2nd half as a rookie for the Rays in 2013. And first half in 2016 when he was an All-Star. Other then that he has been garbage. REAL BAD GARBAGE.

      He caused us to play games with others playing time in the OF over his time here. These other players never fully developed. When they got extended playing time they exceeded what Myers did, during times he was injured.

      Preller made mistakes, his inability to admit them and MOVE ON, will cost this team and waste valuable years of control of some of our better players like Tatis. Preller has huge flaws, starting with his EGO, he wants to prove he is this great finder of talent and he knows what skills are needed to win. He trades players that others acquired and recycles players from his past jobs to catch a Genie in a Bottle. He has us maxed out on Payroll, I am not sure if this team will actually score more runs than last years team. They should get on base more, but with less power and run producing ability. All that does is increase your runners left on base, which Myers is ALL-WORLD at.

      1. Hi Don,
        Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment. I don’t think that the Preller cares nearly enough about defense and doubt that was the deciding factor in adding Hosmer. Indeed if defense was the deciding factor, he would never have signed Hosmer. He might have Gold Gloves but has actually had subpar defensive numbers his entire career.
        Otherwise, I share your concerns about Preller. He has a great eye for rookie talent but has very little success at putting together a competitive major league team. Just look at the current outfield mix…
        Diane

      2. During his time with SD Myers’ wRC+ scores have been 115, 114, 107, 107 and 96, good for 7.5 WAR (according to Fangraphs) This is not a garbage player. This is an above average hitter, and an overall average player, who had a bad year in 2019. The problem (as if a league average player is a problem) is how much he is paid, and the team not knowing how to use him.
        As Diane suggests, the team is likely to maximize his value by having a set plan on how to use him, and sticking to it. With the current realities, platooning him quarter-time at 1B, and two-thirds in RF, he probably returns to being a useful player.

        1. Hey Tom,
          I agree he’s not a garbage player, but he’s been treated as such. So much of baseball is mental, so it’s a wonder that he’s played as well as he as the last couple of years. If your boss publically humiliates you, you just may have performance issues.
          Diane

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