Is it Time For Padres to Cut Ties with Wil Myers?

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

The time may have come for the Padres and Wil Myers to cut ties.

Although Myers does have the athleticism to be a star, he appears to lack the intensity and other intangibles necessary to achieve stardom. The 2013 American League Rookie of the Year has certainly not lived up to the expectations the Padres had for him when general manager A.J. Preller signed him to a 6-year, $83 million contract in January of 2017.

But the team has not lived up to its part of the bargain either.  Instead, the front office anointed him the face of the franchise, and then backed off of the designation. Worse, the team has moved him from position to position, almost guaranteeing that he does not live up to his promise or his contract.

Of course, a variety of injuries have not helped.  In his entire major league career, including stops in Kansas City, Tampa, and San Diego, Myers has topped out at 157 and 155 games in 2016 and 2017 respectively. With the Rays in the two years before the trade, he averaged fewer than 90 games a season.

While with the Padres, he’s been burdened by the performance of the players (especially shortstop Trea Turner) the Padres gave up to acquire him in a three-way trade that included the Rays and Nationals. The loss of a promising young shortstop, who could also hit, left a lingering bad taste especially in light of the fact that shortstop had been a black hole since the forced departure of Khalil Greene in 2008.

Preller traded for Myers undoubtedly in part because the year before he took over, the Padres ranked last in runs scored with 535 and had a miserable OPS of .634.  Surely a hitter the caliber of the young Myers could help goose up those numbers. In 2015 the Padres did improve in OPS to .685 but still ranked last, while scoring 650 runs good enough for 23rdplace.

In his tenure with the Padres, Myers has performed better at the plate than in the field.  Not coincidentally, his best years on both sides of the ball came in 2016-17 when he played first base regularly. He stayed healthier, played far more games and put up above average (although not earth-shattering) numbers as a hitter. In fact, the batting line from both seasons is remarkably similar: .259/.336/.427/.763 in 2016, .243//.328/.464/.792 the following year.

Instead of keeping Myers at first, the Padres surprised just about everyone by signing Eric Hosmer in the offseason to an eight-year, $144 million contract that dwarfs Myers’ deal.  Hosmer would not only supplant Myers at first but also as the new face of the franchise. Then, to complicate matters (and undoubtedly make Myers feel slighted), a crowded outfield made him the odd man out.  Almost as an afterthought, the Padres decided to stick him at third base.

In his first year, the Padres assumed Myers’ athleticism would play well in center field, a serious misjudgment that led to a -23.7 UZR/150.  However, in right or left field his defense has been passable. Of the several positions he has played, he’s been most successful at first and that has carried over into his offense.

Credit: AP Photo

Myers even made the MLB All-Star team in 2016, the year in which the Padres hosted the event.  His FanGraphs WAR of 3.5 for the first half of that season matched that of Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the two topping all major league first baseman. Then, by his own admission, Myers slacked off the rest of the season. Therein lies another piece to the puzzle called Wil Myers.  He doesn’t have much of a filter and makes unscripted comments that come back to bite him.

Most recently, Myers complained to a fellow Padre about manager Andy Green insisting that he participate in drills designed to improve his defense at third. Of course, the comment made the news, and he had to publically apologize to his manager.

Add that embarrassment to his six errors in 34 games at third base, and Myers must want this season to end yesterday. Before this year, he had played third in only 16 games (mostly at the Triple-A level for the Rays), so there’s bound to be a learning curve.

At 27, Myers hasn’t reached that decline which begins around the age of 30 for most ballplayers. He’s still a talented player, and, if he can stay healthy (a big if) he could contribute to another club.  He could even possibly thrive if actually kept in a position in which he feels comfortable.

Teams will not be knocking down the door to trade for Myers this offseason, but a change of scenery could benefit both the player and the team. The Padres would probably have to eat some of his salary, but that wouldn’t be a first for Preller and company.

While Myers has largely been a disappointment in his tenure with San Diego, the front office must take a large share of the blame for the situation. He’s been tossed from position to position, supplanted by a replacement at both first and as the face of the franchise, and been embarrassed and frustrated at third. A fresh start makes sense for all involved.

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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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Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Gotta agree with Greg and Tanned Tom. Myers said he was bored in the outfield. He looks bored no matter where they play him. He seems to often take the first strike no matter how fat it may be and he looks to be trying to guess what the pitcher will throw instead of just reacting. More times than I care to remember he guesses wrong and he’s frozen. I say, hopefully he starts out 2019 semi-hot at the plate and if we are not going to contend, trade him before the dead-line. He can still play first or be… Read more »

Johnny two nuts
Johnny two nuts
4 years ago

You talk about these drills but all those errors he had, 3 I believe happened after green’s smack talk. It’ll be pretty sweet if the padres got rid of green and they brought in a real manager

Paul Jeffrey
Paul Jeffrey
4 years ago

We don’t get to have real managers. Preller seems to like “yes men”. A real manager would either help guys like Margot and Myers get going or straighten their lazy asses out. He’d also ask why in the hell guys like Spangenberg are taking up space in the clubhouse. AJ’s MLB rosters are always sad and you need a crap manager to complement that. We’re not going to see a Dick Williams, a Trader Jack, or a Bruce Bochy ever in AJ’s tenure. It’s exactly why there was no room for Doc in this organization. Very bad move to let… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 years ago

You can try to analyze any player you want, but for me it comes down to one thing for me for a player who seems to have underperformed…
character. To me, Myers is a hot dog who doesn’t want to give a 110%. Trade him, and suck up a portion of the contract. The clubhouse will be better off. Team chemistry matters. Hustle matters. Desire to be the best matters.

OregonCopper
OregonCopper
4 years ago

Y-E-S!! Couldn’t agree more…I wasn’t all that excited about the trade that brought WM here in the first place because I wasn’t convinced he’d live up to the hype and I felt strongly Turner was a budding superstar… I know it’s easy to say “I told you so,” but I’m hoping the team an WM part ways this off season… BTW, I was hoping I was wrong about WM and I did root for him just as much as any other Padre, but I will not miss watching him stand at the plate and watch one of his fly balls… Read more »

Dustin
Dustin
4 years ago

No, they signed him to that deal and to take on a different sh!tty contract makes no sense. Myers has shown glimpses of being a really good hitter and can very easily be a part of the next good Padre team. Let him spend the winter doing drills at 3rd and let him get comfortable at a position for once, we may see him grow as a player.

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