Is the Padres best move to just hold onto Eric Hosmer?

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Padres Eric Hosmer
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the San Diego Padres wanted to trade Eric Hosmer at the 2021 trade deadline.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller could not find a trade partner, and when the rumors of a possible trade came out into the world, it tore apart the clubhouse and contributed to the collapse of the Padres in 2021.

When the lockout between the MLB players and owners ends, Preller will once again look to trade Hosmer.

However, Preller’s best play may be to stash Hosmer. The Padres can keep their prospects, and cash probably needed to pay on the trade of Hosmer. In doing this, the Padres can allow the new coaching staff to work with Hosmer. He may improve.

The former All-Star and Gold-Glove first baseman signed a $144 million contract for eight years before the 2018 season.

Halfway through the contract, Hosmer has accumulated .5 WAR, according to FanGraphs. Safe to say, Hosmer is yet to live up to expectations.

If the Padres want to trade Hosmer, they need to do so this offseason.

The first baseman will obtain 10-and-5 rights if he remains on the roster through the 2022 season. Any player can get this if they accumulate ten years of service time and five consecutive years on any team. With 10-and-5 rights, Hosmer can veto any proposed trade involving him. In other words, if the Padres don’t trade Hosmer this offseason or before the trade deadline, he will likely not be traded.

Opposing teams know that the Padres want to trade Eric Hosmer, and they also know that San Diego needs to trade him this year.

This knowledge restricts the Padres because Preller has little leverage in a trade.

A trade involving Hosmer will likely include some highly-coveted prospects and money to help pay for part or all of his sturdy contract that has $59 million remaining. This is not appetizing to do, although a Hosmer trade would allow for an upgrade at first base. Another alternative to trading prospects is attaching cash in the trade to help pay for Hosmer’s contract.

Some allotment of cash will be involved in the trade regardless of the prospect capital, but the more money in the deal, the more appetizing the trade. Unfortunately for Preller, Padres owner Peter Seidler signs off on all the moves he makes and may not like a move in which he sends $45 million of the $59 million remaining.

Therefore, it may also be wise to hold onto Hosmer, given the baggage that the Padres will also need to include in a trade involving Hosmer.

The Padres are bringing in a new coaching staff to surround the team’s talent. Although Hosmer previously said he does not want to make swing adjustments and stick to hitting ground balls, the new coaches could implement new philosophies, including new hitting coach Michael Brdar. Perhaps these could make Hosmer play like or close to the Padres’ $144 million player they hoped they signed.

One of the worst things Preller can do is ship off too much money or too big of a prospect package to get Hosmer off the team. Several Padres players made it very clear that they like Hosmer, and that is part of the reason the trade rumors shook the clubhouse. Trading Hosmer for little in return might send another rough message to the team.

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There is no doubt that if Hosmer is moved from the team, the Padres can upgrade at first base. It would be a shame to try and make these upgrades while paying for Hosmer to play on a different team which also weakens a farm system that once ranked at the top of the league.

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