The Disappointing Saga of Wil Myers

Credit: Getty Images/ Dennis poroy

Credit: MLB

What is the future for Wil Myers and the San Diego Padres?

As the regular season enters its final month with no playoff appearances insight, the front office will undoubtedly concentrate on next year. Since fans have been promised a contender, the pressure to perform will ramp up, and changes will be made. One significant question mark regards Wil Myers’ future in San Diego.

Although Myers has become an afterthought receiving less and less playing time, his contract status doesn’t change. Beginning next year and for three years after that, the Padres will be on the hook for $22,500,000 a year. His stats (-0.8 WAR, 349 AB, .223/.310/.390/.700, OPS+ 85) won’t affect the bill, nor will they help find a trading partner in the off-season.

In December 2014, four months into his tenure as general manager, A.J. Preller crafted a three-team deal that sent Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, and Jake Bauers to the Tampa Bay Rays and Joe Ross and Trea Turner to the Washington Nationals for Myers, Gerardo Reyes, Ryan Hanigan, and Jose Castillo. Sure, the Padres gave up a lot, but, after all, this was the 2013 Rookie of the Year.

Unfortunately, Myers’ first year did not play out well, as he appeared in only 60 games (thanks largely to a wrist injury). He batted just .253/.336/.427/.763.  Before the next season, the Padres parted ways with first baseman Yonder Alonso and moved Myers out of the outfield to take his place.

Myers rewarded the Padres with his best two years. He appeared in 149 games in 2016 and 154 in 2017 and seemed to have found a home at first base where he ranked second and fifth in fielding percentage. Early in 2017 season, the Padres, in turn, rewarded Myers, naming him the face of the franchise and signing him to the largest contract in team history at the time.

However, in a surprise move the following off-season, the Padres switched gears and agreed to an eight-year deal with first baseman Eric Hosmer worth $144 million over eight years. The deal not only eclipsed Myers’ contract, but it also pushed him off first and essentially replaced him as the face of the franchise. Myers found himself back in the outfield and then at third, the latter producing both lousy results and hard feelings.

Although first base cannot be considered a prime defensive position, the Padres will basically be paying over $40 million for Hosmer and the player who used to play first. The only option for Myers will be the crowded outfield. While his defense in left has been acceptable, the same cannot be said for center.  Further complicating the situation, Francisco Mejia and Josh Naylor have received increasing playing time in left. Both players represent the future — Wil Myers does not.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

However, other teams will not exactly be waiting in line to trade for Myers, thanks to both his performance and his contract. Preller will have to give up highly valued prospects (which he has been loath to do so far) and current players to reclaim just a fraction of the money that will be owed to Myers.

As time passes, it has become increasingly apparent the trade was a mistake with shortstop Trea Turner being the poster child for that mistake. The shortstop area had been a position of weakness for years until the Padres called up Fernando Tatis Jr. at the beginning of the season. The team has exacerbated the problem it created by putting Myers in positions to fail, especially in the third base experiment.

At the time of the trade, the front office ignored the warning signs. Despite his skill set, two teams in the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays traded the former Rookie of the Year. If physical talent isn’t the issue, then perhaps the issue between his ears. At times he plays as if he’s at a Sunday soiree rather than in a big-league game and seems to lack the fire that fuels most successful athletes.

Wil Myers has become expendable, and the Padres need to clear roster space. Myers and at least a portion of his contract will not be an easy sell. But designating the former face of the franchise for assignment and eating his contract would be unthinkable. Finding a new home for Myers will obviously be one of Preller’s urgent projects in the off-season.

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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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Sandi Mccoy
Sandi Mccoy
3 years ago

I just read all what you had said and we agree, we blame it all on the Padres, at one time Myers was Prellers baby his first pickings, they throw him all over place as if they don,’t care,I say now let him in and play every game, Cause Padres are not going anywhere now with the way they been playing

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandi Mccoy

Hi Sandi,
It’s interesting that this article has gotten more attention than anything I’ve ever written for EVT. It obviously touched a nerve. Thanks for reading and joining in the discussion. Playing guys out of position, instead of setting them up to succeed, seems to be another really bad trend.
Diane

Mathias Schmid
Mathias Schmid
3 years ago

Hope Myers will stay in SD at first base – the more I think over the better is changing Hosmer for a great arm … Great article … GERMAN PADRES FAN

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mathias Schmid

If wishes were horses… Trading Hosmer and putting Wil back at first where he felt confident would solve two problems, possibly three, if the right package can be put together to nab a quality starting pitcher.
It’s great to have a German Padres fan, Mathias (my grandfather came from Germany). Thanks for your interest.

Mike
Mike
3 years ago

We need pitching. Trade hosmer for good arm. Put Myers at first. That is where he excels. I blame management for Myers not performing. And Myers knows it. The signing of hosmer is what killed him.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I couldn’t agree more, Mike,
I was simply astonished when the Padres took on Hosmer and that contract. Aside from the Royals no other team showed the slightest interest in Hosmer, especially with that price tag. If Myers had stayed at first, he’d be more comfortable, which would probably show up at the plate.
If the Padres can trade Hosmer for a good arm, we should hold a parade. Without eating a bunch of salary and including a top prospect or two, I can’t imagine any team biting.
Thanks for reading,
Diane

Tanned Tom
Tanned Tom
3 years ago

Thanks for another perceptive article. This is what it looks like when a club has no idea what it’s doing.
He’s our CF, oops he’s not.
He’s our 1Bman and a star, so let’s pay him like that. Oops, changed our mind about that.
He’s our LF, no wait, our 3Bman. Oops, that 3B thing really didn’t work out, so..
Back to LF, no wait, let’s try CF again.
Wait, we can’t make up our mind, so let’s shuttle him back and forth between CF and LF.
If Myers were making $5 mil a year, no one would care. In fact we’d be regarding him as a Zobrist-like utility player.
As for what can be done, it’s either live with him and hope he rebounds, or swallow the cost and trade him for peanuts.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Tanned Tom

Hello Tom,
You’re absolutely right about Myers’ salary. Next year that becomes a huge issue. I have to think that the Padres have played a big part in Myers’ inability to play up to his potential, especially by playing him in center and, worse, at third. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the off-season.
Thanks for reading and commenting,
Diane

Greg Hoadley
3 years ago
Reply to  Tanned Tom

I think this is a huge part of the problem: the constant changing of positions has messed with Myers’ head. It’s also telling that even while he was a burgeoning talent, both KC and Tampa traded him. It looks like they saw something, and it bothered them.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Hoadley

Hello Greg,
Center and, worse, third base, have probably really messed with Myers’ head. He’s subpar in center but really lost at third. Plus, he must have been humiliated.
The Padres probably should have paid more attention to the fact that two good organizations traded him despite his tools.
Overall, this hasn’t worked out for the Padres or Myers, and, frankly, it’s sad to see such talent go to waste.
Diane

Wedge910
Wedge910
3 years ago

Wil Myers started having hitting problems after he participated in the All Star Home Run Derby when the Game was held in San Diego at Petco. It has been pointed out that participation in the derby can mess up one’s batting mechanics and timing.

Diane Calkins
Diane Calkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Wedge910

Hello and thanks for your comment,
Although the Home Run Derby has been blamed for messing up guys’ mechanics, that was several years ago. With his talent, you’d think he could have gotten back on track by now. Of course, having multiple batting coaches doesn’t help either…
Diane

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