Burdensome contracts making it difficult for Padres to make big moves

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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The San Diego Padres have big needs around the team, and two big contracts are proving difficult to overcome.

The Padres owe outfielder Wil Myers and first baseman Eric Hosmer a combined $43.5 million in 2022, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the entire team’s payroll this coming season.

Neither is giving an acceptable return on San Diego’s investments. Since 2018, Hosmer is valued at 0.6 fWAR, which ranks 34th among 38 qualified first basemen, worse than the likes of Daniel Vogelbach and Mitch Moreland. Myers showed promise in 2020, earning two MVP votes. However, he came crashing down back to Earth in 2021, with a mediocre .768 OPS. Neither one appears to be on the path to helping the team achieve their ultimate goal- win a World Series.

Starting in 2019, the Padres moved into a higher tier of spenders with the signing of Manny Machado, the extension to Fernando Tatis Jr., and the trades for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. However, these two contracts are acting like a ball and chain on the ankle of general manager A.J. Preller as he courts free agents and other potential acquisitions ahead of the season.

Ever since the cold days of the lockout thawed late last week, fans have yearned for a big move by Preller. With players like Nelson Cruz, Nick Castellanos, and Michael Conforto, among others, on their radar, the Padres hope to turn cash into impact bats in their lineup. However, it is proving to be more difficult than originally thought.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

While Peter Seidler and the Padres’ brass should be commended for spending to win instead of the perennial penny-pinching akin to the Padres owners of yesteryear, no team is limitless in its funds to sign players. In 2021, the Padres exceeded the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history.

It would be bad business to do it a second year in a row, with the new luxury tax set at $230 million.

This means in order to sign top-notch free agents, the Friars will first need to cut some costs, namely-find, a suitor for Eric Hosmer and/or Wil Myers to shed their bloated contracts.

As of now, the Padres are shopping both players to no avail. Plus, they just witnessed Nelson Cruz, a prime designated hitter candidate, sign with the Nationals for around $12 million. It’s easy to imagine Cruz picking San Diego instead of Washington had the Friars been willing to match or exceed that number. With Myers and Hosmer still on the payroll, it appears the Padres balked at such a number for Cruz, a slugger now north of 40 years old.

If Cruz is able to get those kinds of numbers, you must believe a player like Castellanos, Conforto, or Kyle Schwarber will command more. The Padres are ill-equipped to win bidding wars for players without shedding some dead weight.

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Granted, the best solution would be for the Padres to make said splash moves which include getting rid of one of Hosmer or Myers. However, that would require another team agreeing to inherit their contract in exchange for the Friars also sending over a blue-chip prospect such as CJ Abrams or Luis Campusano. As long as Hosmer and Myers remain on the payroll, the Padres are at a disadvantage in this spending spree around the league ahead of an abbreviated Spring Training.

1 thought on “Burdensome contracts making it difficult for Padres to make big moves

  1. Sorry, but you cannot lump these two contracts together. According to Fangraphs, Myers has returned 6.4 WAR over 5 seasons (4.5 if you remember that 2020 was shortened). That averages out to 1.4 WAR/year. Not scintillating, but decent. That makes him overpaid, but servicable. And remember too that the club jerked him around positionally, as we’ve seen him play CF, 3B, LF, RF. It isn’t a stretch to think his offensive numbers might have been a bit better if they had just left him at 1B.
    Hosmer has put up 0.5 WAR over 4 years, which is simply not MLB-caliber. Over these 4 years he ranked 54th among 1Bmen with over 400 ABs total, just behind Pablo Sandoval. They are paying him $144mm over 8 years for this non-production.
    One contract was an overpay for a player who has not become a star, the other was the worst FA signing of the last 4 years.

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