Last Saturday night, the San Diego Padres and free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer finally agreed to terms. It might have been the longest offseason negotiation in modern sports history and was a very painful process.
As the signing was announced, most Padre fans were naturally excited. After all, this is without a doubt the biggest free agent signing in franchise history.
But although a majority of the fan base was joyful and excited, there were those who thought that the Eric Hosmer deal was an act of desperation and a clear deviation on the overall plan to become a long-term winning team. There were even some that went as far as comparing this move to the offseason frenzy of 2015.
Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this is nothing like 2015.
Back in the winter of 2014, A.J. Preller was in his first season as Padres’ G.M. The mandate was to go and make a splash in order to get the fan base excited for the upcoming 2015 campaign. Preller delivered a bunch of former MLB All-Stars, including Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, and James Shields. As we all know now, none of those players lived up to the hype and all were eventually either traded or allowed to leave via free agency.
After that failure, Preller got back to what he does best and dove into the international market to find the future of the franchise. By all accounts, he has succeed so far, as the farm system is loaded with legit prospects. At that point the plan was clear: built through the draft and wait on the prospects to become stars.
2015 happened. There is no denying it. It was a huge baseball failure for the franchise, but again, the dormant fan base was awakened by the moves. That in itself had great value to the city of San Diego. Padre fans began to, once again, surface globally and the team can now try to market themselves outside of Southern California.
Eric Hosmer is a huge commitment, but in signing him, the team did not give up any prospects. Yes, the team lost a high draft selection coming in June, but the farm system is budding. Losing a draft pick is not the end of the world when you already have a top-five farm system, especially when the majority of the farm system is made of teenagers in the lower levels of the minors that should only improve in time.
Think of Hosmer as an addition to the puzzle and nothing more. The youth and homegrown talent on this team will be the driving force to relevancy. Unlike 2015, when the team tried to force creating a winning culture, they have learned to just let it come naturally. Eric Hosmer is here to assist in the development of young players. Fernando Tatis, Luis Urias, Mackenzie Gore, Cal Quantrill, and others will all need to learn how to win, and Eric Hosmer is the guy to teach them.