A plan for the Padres and Wil Myers

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Wil Myers’ name comes up in trade rumors almost as often as Eric Hosmer’s. There’s no doubt that the San Diego Padres must somehow cut ties with Hosmer, but Myers can be a productive member of the team—if given a chance.

Did the Padres make a mistake in trading Trea Turner for Myers? In retrospect, Turner (FanGraphs WAR 24.1 total) has been a more valuable player than Myers (13.0). However, a prospect remains a suspect until he can prove his worth, and Preller had no way of knowing Turner’s value at the time.

However, the Padres did unnecessarily sign Myers, who had been installed at first base, to an $83 million, six-year extension in 2017 while also naming him “the face of the franchise .” Then general manager A.J. Preller pivoted and signed Eric Hosmer, an even more expensive first baseman, in the 2018 offseason.

No other team had expressed an interest in Hosmer. Moreover, analyst Dave Cameron (who had moved from FanGraphs to the Padres’ front office) issued strong warnings about the wisdom of such a move.

As James Clark of eastvillagetimes.com reported, “Dave Cameron was adamant about not signing Eric Hosmer in the winter of 2018. While at FanGraphs, he publicly discussed the first baseman value before joining the Padres. A month after the team hired Cameron, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer to the richest (at the time) contract in the history of the franchise. The bizarre move was a direct contradiction to what their analyst suggested. We will never know the details on what led the Padres to open their pocketbooks to sign Hosmer. But it is safe to say it was a bad idea. Dave Cameron was right.”

Although he’d been promoted to special assistant to Preller in the 2019 off-season, Cameron decided to move on from the Padres last winter. He’d been influential in the decisions to add Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

After adding Hosmer, the team moved Myers all over the diamond, in some instances actually putting him in positions to fail. In 2016 and 2017, he had manned first base for over 300 games. Although no Nate Colbert or Adrian Gonzalez defensively, Myers was not a glaring liability at the position (-0.5 UZR/150 total). That cannot be said for his defense in center field (UZR/150 -11.1) or especially at third base (UZR/150 -24.7), a position Myers had not played since 2012 as a minor leaguer.

The fact that the Padres even considered Myers at third remains a head-scratcher, and that year the relationship between player and ball club reached the bottom. Unaware he was being streamed on “Fortnite,” Myers complained about manager Andy Green. He later apologized personally to Green, but the damage had been done.

However, the Padres fired Green before the season ended in 2019 despite the two years left on his contract. Under Green, the Padres had an extremely disappointing 274-366 record. During Preller’s tenure, the Padres have cycled through several managers: Bud Black, Dave Roberts (one game), Pat Murphy, Andy Green, Rod Barajas (eight games), and Jayce Tingler. Finally, veteran Bob Melvin will get his chance this year.

In ordinary times, Melvin would spend the offseason getting to know the players and consulting with Preller and company. However, the Major League Baseball shutdown prevents any contact as well as trades, thus limiting Preller’s ability to wheel and deal—one more reason to concentrate on moving Hosmer.

The Padres owe Hosmer $60 million through 2025, thanks to his $144 million contract. During their time in San Diego, Myers has proven to be the better player of the two, and he’s more versatile. He could take over at first or move back to left field, his two best positions.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Myers has generally outperformed Hosmer despite having played far fewer games than Hosmer  (Myers 13.0 WAR in 986 games, Hosmer 11.0 WAR in 1554 games). In 2021, Myers had 113 hits, a batting average of .256 with 63 RBI, eight stolen bases, 17 home runs, and OPS+ of 113, while Hosmer had 137 hits, BA of .269, 65 RBI, five stolen bases, 12 home runs, and of OPS+ 104.

Last season Hosmer’s WAR fell to 0.0, as opposed to Myer’s 1.4 WAR. Fangraphs Value metrics rate Hosmer at -3.8 offense, -14.9 defense, Myers at 6.5 offense, -9.0 defense. It should be noted that Myers’ sub-par defensive rating emphasizes the fact that the team stashed him right field rather than at first or in left, his two best defensive positions.

When baseball resumes, Preller and the Padres need to address the Hosmer/Myers conundrum. Hosmer has had the comfort of playing a familiar position, while Myers has too often been put in positions which almost guarantee sub-par results. Myers has proven himself to be more valuable to the team than Hosmer despite being asked to play less than optimal positions. The Padres owe both players $20 million in 2022, but the Padres have a 1 million buyout for Myers the following year. On the other hand, Hosmer will cost $59 million over the next three seasons.

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The Padres should concentrate on moving the pricier and less effective Hosmer while also putting Myers in a position to succeed. With Hosmer ensconced at first, the Padres would best utilize Myers in left field. Tommy Pham has moved on, and the position is open. If the Padres manage to trade Hosmer, first base would also be an option. Myers deserves the chance to play in his comfort zone.

12 thoughts on “A plan for the Padres and Wil Myers

  1. Wil always seemed willing to move to any position they wanted. Each time he was asked about a position change, he smiled and said, “sure, that is my favorite position”. From a fan perspective, he seems to be a good teammate. His hitting is smooth and seems best when he crouches a bit low, as he has done at the beginning of the past 2 seasons. Only when he straightens up, does his production begin to slide. Mr. Preller please unload Hosmer. Mr. Melvin please move Wil to 1st base to begin the season. Tatis to Rt. field, Cronenworth to second, Kim to short. Improved defence up the middle (throwing errors would stop), improved power in the outfield and smiles from the stands.

    1. Hello Tempy2dHall,
      I always appreciate your feedback. Myers certainly seems to have put up with all the Padres have thrown at him. Although I see the logic in your suggestions for positioning, there is zero chance of that happening. It would improve the defense (except in right), but Tatis Jr. would not be happy…

  2. If you get rid of Wil Myers then you have to sign two starting outfielders Wil Myers and Trent Are only 2 starting out fielders His his contract was backloaded pay him his money hes only 29 and can still have a career year and can resign for a really good deal unless he has his career year This year. He is needed plain and simple you get rid of will Myers you have to sign 2 starting outfielders which will cost more than his 20 million for his last year of his contract .

    1. Hi Irie fan geek,
      Thanks for adding your thoughts. You are absolutely right about the outfield situation and the cost of adding two players. If the Padres let Myers know they support him, I’d bet on him playing some of his best baseball.

  3. I just read your piece on Will Myers,I always liked him and felt he was treated badly so I totally agree with you. As usual a succinct and educated article. 

    1. Thanks for the high praise, Rosemary,
      We agree that the Padres have mistreated Myers, which is obviously counterproductive.

  4. I agree with you 100% Diane. Hosmer is the player to move, but that’s going to be a difficult pill to swallow with eating cash and/or sending a top
    prospect. The only reason they should move Myers is if they can replace him with a younger player on a smaller AAV/longer term deal.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for reading, for the input, and for the vote of confidence. The longer the shutdown goes on the more difficult it will be to make trades. Preller should concentrate on moving Hosmer, one of his biggest mistakes.

  5. I agree complely. The numbers get even worse if we consider just the time Hosmer has been in SD, 0.5WAR over 4 seasons for the ground ball king, and a servicable 5.5 for Myers over the same time.

    1. Hello Tom,
      It’s been a while, great to get your feedback. No doubt, Myers has been the more valuable of the two. I’ll never understand the motivation for signing Hosmer.
      Thanks for your thoughts,

      1. Really love Will. He is great in outfield. He sees like the kindest and most humble guy on the team.

        1. Thanks for your comment, Kathleen,
          Considering the Padres’ treatment of Myers (they’ve been trying to trade him for years and have moved him all over the diamond), he’s been a positive teammate and a good sport.

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