Hosmer’s contract not justifiable for Padres after 2020 season
Three years into a seven-year/$144-million deal with the San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer merely is not producing. With one year left before his no-trade clause ends, Hosmer needs to justify the remaining money on the contract soon for San Diego to keep him.
The San Diego Padres are suffering after some poor business decisions regarding money.
Over time, the signing of James Shields, the extension of Wil Myers, and the free-agent signing of Eric Hosmer all proved to be bad decisions for Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller. Not just bad ideas, but very costly ones at that.
Thankfully, the Padres were able to pull off some magic in trading Shields to the White Sox for a package of players, including Fernando Tatis Jr. The Myers’ extension is presently weighing down the team, though, as they continually attempt to rid themselves of the three-years and $67.5 million that is left in his deal. Currently, it looks like there will be no takers for Myers, and he is penciled in for a starting role in 2020 for the Padres when the season commences.
Then there is the financial anchor that is turning out to be the Eric Hosmer’ contract.
San Diego eagerly gave the first baseman a seven-year/$144-million deal before the 2018 season even though no other teams were in serious pursuit of the left-handed hitter. Scott Boras waved his magic wand prompting the Padres to sign Hosmer late in the winter. The organization praised his locker room presence and the fact he would balance out the mostly right-handed hitting lineup. The former Royal may have provided a left-handed hitting presence in the Padres’ lineup, but his production has been abysmal for a position that requires offense. The former All-Star owns a .728 OPS as a Padre and has produced 1.1 WAR for the team in two complete seasons. To put that into context, utility-man Greg Garcia recorded a 1.4 WAR total last year alone in a backup role for the Padres. Hosmer earned $42 million for his previous two years of service time. It is safe to say – he has not justified his paycheck.
But is all a lost cause for Hosmer?
With a no-trade contract intact, the first baseman is not going anywhere this 2020 season. The clause does end after the year, but for now, the Padres are invested into the former first-round pick. He will play every day, and it looks as though he will bat in the middle of the lineup when MLB begins to play again. If the Padres plan on succeeding in 2020, Hosmer will be a crucial reason for their advancement, especially if we are talking about a season that will be shortened to some degree.
Early in spring, Hosmer worked relentlessly hard with new Padres’ coach Bobby Dickerson. The fact Hosmer invested time to get “drilled” by the new coach is characteristic of the type of effort the first baseman puts towards the game. The veteran coach is known for getting results from infielders, and signs were positive early in camp that Dickerson will improve the Padres’ infield defense in 2020.
Eric Hosmer’s defense is not the primary concern for the Padres moving forward. His lack of production with the bat and the $81 million and five years left on his deal after 2020 that is an issue for a small market team like San Diego. The lefty will make $21 million in 2021 and 2022. After those two seasons, Hosmer and his representatives can opt-out of the remaining three years in his deal. If Hosmer chooses to keep his contract in place, he makes $13 million for three seasons (2023-2025). The possibility of earning $39 million for three years and until the age of 35 could be enticing to Hosmer.
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In the meantime, the Padres may eventually succumb to the temptation of moving Hosmer after the 2020 season when his no-trade clause expires. Preller and the Padres are blessed with several high profile prospects and can easily pay down the price of moving the costly first baseman when push comes to shove. Preller will explore all options to improve the team and cannot continue to get subpar production from a position that traditionally brings offensive firepower with it.
Josh Naylor, at the age of 22, is currently playing outfield for the Padres but is a natural first baseman. The Canadian left-handed hitter is aggressive with his approach at the plate and brings plenty of power potential to the team. Naylor could very well be an option for the Padres eventually, or they could explore a trade elsewhere. As for Hosmer, the 2020 season will be tremendous in determining his future with the team. There may still be time for him to salvage his value, but there is a long road ahead for Eric Hosmer.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.
I’m glad to see the second guessing begin – again. OK, so numerous people still don’t like Hosmer. Personally, I’ve always liked the guy and for me, his character and leadership were just as important as his bat. But what’s wrong with 99 RBI’s that he had last year? Analytics be damned and I do hate modern baseball and the stupid stats we see….. Eric Hosmer is a good guy and a good player. It’s too bad for Naylor, it was too bad for Myers but Hosmer gets to plays first base. Too many people don’t like the signing now but where were you when it happened? MUCH MORE IMPORANT, where is the second, third and fourth guessing on the merits of Padres owners Seidler and Fowler KEEPING Preller all these years as the team’s GM? As soon as the man essentially traded ALL STAR SS Trea Turner for Wil Myers and then gave Myers a costly extension, ANYONE with a brain should have known Preller had no idea how to run a team. I have said this before – only in a sleepy media town like SD could a clown like Preller KEEP his job. But the beat continues and AJ Preller is still the Padres GM. Here is Preller’s bible; only players that HE has selected can be Padres in 2020. Anyone drafted by someone else not named Preller CANNOT be on the team in 2020. You think I’m lying? Look at the roster. Austin Hedges is the one exception and only because his glove is so good and his leadership skills with the pitchers so great. But Preller truly wants someone else. We all know it! We’ll see what happens if and when we ever get baseball back.
Ah, welcome to the party James.
Unfortunately the club will need to face exactly the dilemma you laid out, how to move Hosmer off the roster.
The answer is to pay whatever portion of his salary is necessary and trade him, NTC be damned. If a trade can’t be worked out, bench him. Worst case is that Hosmer rides the pine for 2 years before opting out. Time to play Naylor and move on.
Welcome to the party? I wrote and podcasted about this issue beforehand. I warned that paying great money for a good player was a bad idea. Especially at a position that you can easily find a replacement.
Just meant that it’s not your style to be overtly critical.
I don’t think I am being over critical… He simply has not produced at a position in which you need offense.
Sorry, but I think Hosmer’s performance/contract is betyercthan Manny Machado! No disrespect to Manny but he had a pretty awful year last year! Just my opinion but I am afraidthe worstctrade made in the off season was Hunter Renfro. Wathing the re-broadcasts of last year, he was Mr. reliable and how I will miss Franimal and Eric Lauer. Again, just because I’ve been a Padre fan since the P.C.L.its my opinion!
You need to rethink. Hosmer has put up wRC+ scores of 95 and 91, and WAR values of -0.1 and -0.4 in 2018 and 2019. This is godawful production at any salary. Machado for $10 mil last year put up a wRC+ of 108 and a WAR of 3.1 ( his salary escalates to $30 mil in 2020). Machado has been a good, not great, player. Whereas Hosmer has been dreadful beyond tolerance.
In 2018, Hosmer was considered an MLB average player. I recommend watching the video “Who is the Most Average MLB Player? | Stat Stories” At time 2:55 he is named. Also named were Profar and Dozier. Nothing wrong with average, just don’t pay them like a superstar.
Sorry, but there is no way Hosmer is an average ML player, regardless of what some crackpot you tube poster thinks. The average ML position player will post between 1 and 2 WAR. Hosmer’s WAR of -0.5 over the last 2 seasons means not only is he not an average player, but he has produced less than what the team might expect from their AAA first baseman. Fangraphs, for instance, considers either Hosmer or Pujols to be the worst first baseman in all of baseball. This is emphatically not an average player.
Not worried about the NTC. He’ll accept a trade if one is made. The actual issue is his trade value, or lack thereof. Off the top of my head the only GM dumb enough to do something like trade for Hosmer is Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets already have a first baseman they like.