It’s finally happened. After months of waiting and endless negotiating, a deal is finally in place. At 8:04 San Diego time, Kevin Acee reported that Eric Hosmer has signed with the Padres with Scott Miller giving the financial details of an eight-year, $144 million front-loaded deal, with $20 million in the first five years and $13 million in the final three years. The Padres will be giving up their third-highest draft pick, which means a second-round pick will be going to Kansas City, but with one of the best farm systems in baseball, this will not do much harm to San Diego.
After a lengthy career in Kansas City, Hosmer will be taking the Oregon Trail west to join an up-and-coming Padres’ squad that was looking for veteran leadership and a left-handed bat to put in the lineup. Hosmer provides both and then some. Hosmer took home a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove award while carrying a .318/.385/.495 batting line with an OPS+ of 132. He also provides serious pop as he hit 25 home runs and collected 94 RBIs last season.
Hosmer is no slouch on the field as well as he carried a .995 Fielding Percentage with four errors. Advanced metrics, however, were not so kind as his Defensive Runs Saved rate came in at -7 and he carried a slightly negative Ultimate Zone Rating of -0.3.
However, the Padres were ultimately looking for veteran leadership and Hosmer apparently brings that. Managers and players sing praises about Hosmer, hailing him as a man who wouldn’t hesitate to speak to younger players who are going through their struggles while encouraging them to strive for greater heights. His ability to speak Spanish will work wonders when youngsters like Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis jr arrive on the scene and his leadership qualities will hopefully mesh well with guys like Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe.
Speaking of Myers, the two share some history together as the two played together in the Royals’ system and Myers has clearly supported a move to bring Hosmer to San Diego, saying that he will support a move to left field if he was signed. Since the move has been announced, Myers has OK’d a move to the outfield. With Hosmer’s bat in the lineup, this will ultimately take a lot of pressure off of Myer’s shoulders and let him relax a bit more now that he is not expected to be “the man”.
This move, of course, brings with it a major impact on the lineup. With Myers moving to left field thanks to Hosmer taking over first base, this means Jose Pirela will presumably not start and move him to the bench as a fourth outfielder. This leaves maybe one spot left for the outfield if any at all, which means Travis Jankowski, Matt Sczcur and potentially Alex Dickerson will have to have the spring training of their lives to have a shot at the final roster or hope that injuries leave a spot open for them.
The deal was a long time coming, with agent Scott Boras holding out for a bigger deal that included more money and another year, with owner Ron Fowler believing that the initial offer made was fine the way it was. However, with the Padres employing the waiting game, Boras was forced to give in a little bit and offer some compromises. He would get the eight year he wanted, but at less money than he originally shot for. Kudos goes to A.J. Preller and the front office for the willing to compromise and some skilled negotiating.
With Kansas City and (supposedly) the St. Louis Cardinals being the only other options, Hosmer decided to go with the team that many consider to be on the upswing. With Fowler pushing for 2019 to be the year of playoff contention, the Padres acted on a near-frozen Hot Stove to pick up the guy they wanted. The Padres will be hoping for more of these moments with their new first baseman, and only time will tell how this deal will turn out. For now though, the Padres 2018 season just got a lot more interesting.