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

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

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.
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Padre Paul
Padre Paul
2 years ago

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.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Padre Paul

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

Eric
Eric
2 years ago

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… Read more »

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Eric

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

Jerry McIntyre
Jerry McIntyre
2 years ago

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… Read more »

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Jerry McIntyre

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

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Jerry McIntyre

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

Gary M Gregson
Gary M Gregson
2 years ago

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… Read more »

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary M Gregson

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

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

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.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill

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

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