Should the Padres attempt to bring back Wil Myers?

Credit: AP Photo

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Wil Myers is due for free agency this winter. Should the San Diego Padres bring him back? 

In December 2014, the San Diego Padres traded for Wil Myers of the Tampa Rays.

The former A.L. Rookie of the Year was acquired in a three-team deal in which the Padres parted with Trea Turner, Joe Ross, Jake Bauers, Rene Rivera, and Burch Smith. The Nationals landed Turner and Joe Ross in the deal, while the Padres acquired Myers, Jose Castillo, Gerardo Reyes, and Ryan Hanigan. Tampa walked away with Steven Souza, Travis Ott, Bauers, Smith, and Rene Rivera in the deal.

The 10-player trade was massive as the Padres reconstructed their lineup. A.J. Preller was on a mission then, and acquiring the 24-year-old Myers was undoubtedly exciting for the Padres fan base. Myers came to San Diego with uncertainty, as most determined he had yet reached his potential.

Myers arrived in San Diego and immediately struggled with health. A lingering wrist injury caused the outfielder to undergo surgery in June, and he only played in a total of 60 games, recording a .763 OPS and slugging just eight homers. The 2015 roster failed on several levels, and Myers was a part of the failure because of injury.

The 2016 season saw a vastly improved Myers make the N.L. All-Star game as the Padres’ only representative. The right-handed hitter played 149 games at first base and recorded a .994 fielding percentage as Myers only committed three errors in 1,325 chances. Myers was rewarded for his play and was granted a six-year/$84-million extension with the Padres, buying out his arbitration years. It may have been an early gesture, but Preller looked to keep the fanbase engaged in the team.

Myers played in 154 games at first base for the Padres in 2017, producing 30 homers and 20 steals while putting up a .792 OPS. He looked at lock at the position, but in February of 2018, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year/$144-million deal. Myers would only play 11 more games at first base through the 2021 season. The position was Hosmer’s, and the value of Myers with the bat plummeted.

(Photo by Brady Klain/Getty Images)

In two years at first base, Myers produced an OPS of .797 and .792, which were his two best years other than the 2020 Covid-shortened season in which Myers produced a .959 OPS in 55 games. Playing the outfield and some third base for the better part of the last five years, Myers has battled injuries and consistency and struggled to reach those OPS numbers.

Wil Myers is probably not an All-Star player at this point in his career. He may produce another season worthy of a nomination, but that will depend on his health and whether or not he gets ample playing time at a position for an entire season. The right-handed hitter seems to have some left in the tank, though, and it would be realistic to see Myers in the league for another three to five years.

The Padres cannot afford to pay Wil Myers top dollar this winter. If he wants a multi-year deal, paying him tens of millions per season, Myers will likely suit up elsewhere next year. A team may be interested in a long-term deal, but that remains to be seen.

The San Diego Padres have an opening at first base next year as Jake Cronenworth is penciled in as the start in 2023. Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Myers are all free agents this winter. Bell will likely find a job elsewhere as the Padres will be hard-pressed to pay him top dollar. Brandon Drury may be of interest to San Diego, but the Padres will likely shy away from presenting him with the best deal on the market.

Watching Wil Myers play first base is fun. The 31-year-old enjoys his time at the position, and though he is slightly unorthodox, Myers is a solid first baseman. The Padres could use his services in 2023 and beyond. But what kind of deal would it take to secure Myers?

Heading into the winter, there should be some demand for Myers. A team will likely entertain bringing the slugger into camp with the vision that he has one or two solid years left. If a team is willing to spend millions upon millions on Myers, the Padres will be hard-pressed to equal it. However, if Myers wants a one-year deal with incentives, there may be some interest on both sides.

The Padres also may explore attempting to bring Myers in on a two-year deal in the neighborhood of 10-12 million. That isn’t a hefty contract by any means, but San Diego may want to sell Myers on the exciting things happening in the Padres clubhouse and how he is a part if that. A sentimental Myers could take a bit of a discount to return to a place that is familiar to him. For the Padres, they can obtain a solid defender at first base with some upside. You pair Myers with a competent left-handed hitting first baseman, and you have the makings of a decent platoon.

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The bottom line is it will come down to demand for Wil Myers. The Padres will be patient and wait in the weeds to see what his actual value is on the open market. Expect the two sides to stay in communication, and if a beneficial agreement can be made for both sides, Myers may return to the Padres.

Anything can happen in this regard. A.J. Preller is always looking for ways to improve the team. He also thinks outside the box. Myers and the Padres could still enjoy some great years together in San Diego. We will see what happens this winter.

What do you say? Should the Padres explore bringing him back?

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