After quite a hectic month, June has finally come to an end. While every player has up and down months, no player had a bigger up month in June than San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers. After a solid start in the first two months of the year, Myers took it to a whole new level in June. Now that June has come to an end, the historic nature of Myers month can be fully appreciated.
In 98 at bats over the course of the month, Myers slashed .327/.429/.765 with a 212 wRC+ while hitting 11 home runs and driving in 33 runs and scoring 25. His obscene numbers for the month of June aside, Myers has proven himself to be not only the best offensive player on the San Diego Padres, but perhaps an All Star caliber first baseman this year. After all the question marks that followed Myers in his initial trade to San Diego, and the question marks that multiplied when he missed a majority of last season with injury, Myers has finally proven his worth in San Diego.
However, with his recent success, Myers’ name has yet again been brought up in trade rumors and theories. Being the most talented player on the roster, and still several years away from free agency, it’s clear that the Padres have an insanely valuable trade asset in Myers, injury concerns or not. The Padres are said to be open to trading Myers, but only if the return is substantial, reportedly three to four top-level prospects. Given that price, it seems highly unlikely the Padres will be blown away enough to make that sort of trade midseason.
If Myers is truly staying put at least through this season, that begs an even bigger question: Can the San Diego Padres sign Wil Myers to a long term deal?
This is obviously a pretty significant question, and one that could have a massive impact on the Padres franchise for years to come. For that reason, this question must be tackled through several different lens and evaluated from a variety of different angles.
The first major concern in a long term deal for Myers is health. As Padre fans know by now, Wil Myers is no stranger to the disabled list, as the first baseman has spent almost as much time on it has he has off it in his time in San Diego to this point. Following a spectacular second half to the season in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays, a season in which he won the AL Rookie of the Year, Myers only played in 87 games the following season due to a wrist injury that kept him sidelined almost half the year.
Despite supposedly being healthy following his trade to San Diego, Myers once again aggravated his injury in the beginning of the 2015 season, causing him to miss most of the season. Due to the injury, Myers only ended up playing 60 games last year. So far in his three plus year career, Myers has played in only 88, 87, and 60 games through 2013-2015. To this point in 2016, Myers has already played in 77 games. Barring any off days, Myers will come within one game of his career high.
Given those past injury concerns, and despite his health to this point this season, Myers definitely has more baggage and risk than other young players in similar situations. Signing Myers long term could backfire completely if those injury concerns once again rear their ugly head as the season progresses. With the memories of Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin fresh in Padre fans’ minds, it is certainly a risky proposition.
While his injury history may be the big concern, the Padres financial situation may be an even bigger issue. To this point in their history, the largest contract the Padres have ever given out to any player was the four-year, $75 million deal that the team just gave out to James Shields. Given how badly that has already backfired, the Padres front office and ownership group must be wary about giving out long-term deals at this point. Add to that the injury concerns with Myers, and the Padres continued status as a small market team, and finding the right numbers for a fit seems difficult.
At current, Wil Myers is 25 years old and is now three years away from free agency following this season. At this rate, barring any contract extension, Myers will be under team control for three more years after this one and will become a free agent after the 2019 season at age 28. If Myers is able to maintain his current production, the prospects of that age-28 contract have to be tantalizing for the young star. With players like Justin Upton and Jason Heyward getting upwards of $150 to $200 million on long term contracts, the chances for Myers to get a similar or better deal seem relatively good.
Even with all these concerns, it makes absolute sense for the Padres to try to extend Wil Myers and make him the face of the franchise. It’s clear from watching him on the field that Myers not only is loving playing first base, but he is also loving playing in San Diego. While the prospect of money is often too much to pass up, Myers does not seem like the type who is overly considered with simply signing with whoever is the highest bidder.
With that in mind, the Padres should waste no time sitting down with Wil Myers and his agent and talking contract extension sooner rather than later. Even though the youngster still has three more years of team control following this one, the Padres should make his long term future a priority of theirs. For a team that has been missing a true face of the franchise since the departure of Adrian Gonzalez, Wil Myers perfectly fits the bill. Wil Myers should be the face of the San Diego Padres for as long as possible. If a World Series championship is coming to San Diego, Wil Myers should be the first one to hoist the trophy.