With the Addition of Hosmer, Wil Myers Can Just Relax and Play Ball

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(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

When the Padres inked Wil Myers to a then-club record six-year, $83 million deal before last season, it was the intention that he become the “face of the franchise” and the clubhouse alpha dog.

Although 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases are the type of numbers the Padres paid for, most were hoping for more.

His midseason struggles last year were well documented as he hit .214, .195 and .181 in May, July, and August, respectively, and it didn’t seem like he was taking the role of the leader well, at least not on the field.

The weight of being the leader and face of the team may have overburdened Myers. He looked like he was pressing too hard, and other times he looked like he didn’t care (that may just be his resting face and not an indictment of his attitude). There are even whispers that Myers does not want to be the clubhouse leader.

It can be burdensome to be the leader. You want to put up the numbers people respect so they will listen to you, and that can make you press too hard. In baseball, trying harder doesn’t always work. It’s not football where you can lift more weights, get angry and hit harder. Batters need to be relaxed and confident at the plate and Myers, at times, did not look that way during the 2017 season.

Eric Hosmer is clearly a leader, and our own Ted Leitner thinks so as well.

So with Hosmer taking over “Face of the Franchise” and “Clubhouse Leader” duties, Myers can take a deep breath and just play baseball. This might help Myers strike out less, put the ball in play more, and even hit more than 30 home runs. Myers could have an All-Star caliber season in the outfield, which is a far less crowded position for All-Stars, at least in the NL.

In 2016, when he didn’t have to be “the guy,” he was a MLB All-Star. He let guys like Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, and for a short time, James Shields divvy out the leadership responsibilities and Myers nearly had a 30/30 season while keeping his average around .260.

It might not be so far-fetched to think Myers will improve on his 2017 numbers just by the mere presence of Hosmer. The new lefty first baseman will field tough questions about the team that Myers had to address last year. Myers won’t have to take as much of the heat and fewer fingers will be pointed at him if the team underperforms.

Some guys are made to be leaders and some guys just want to do their job and follow someone else. Myers might be of the latter description. Admittedly, I am not in the Padres’ clubhouse day to day, and I am certainly not in Wil Myers’ head, these are just observations and information from those closer to the situation.

Is it a bad thing that Myers is no longer the leader? No. Hosmer seems good at that. We don’t want Myers to try to be someone he is not. As expectations grow over the next few seasons, the flame will get hotter and hotter. Hosmer seems more equipped to deal with that than Myers, as he has lost a World Series, won it the next year, and helped lead a roster of mostly All-Stars to a World Baseball Classic championship.

We are all rooting for Myers to bounce back and put in a full season of Myers-like results, similar to his 2013 Rookie of the Year campaign and 2016 All-Star year. Bringing in Hosmer may have an unintended (or intended?) consequence of putting Myers at ease and putting him in the best situation for success.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.
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Paul
Paul
4 years ago

The arrival of Hosmer does nothing to fix Myers head flying out of the box faster than his bat. Goo luck Wil, you need to figure it out this season or be another bad contract AJ has penned.

Mark from Sacramento
Mark from Sacramento
4 years ago

What has Wil Myers actually said about Hosmer’s arrival. I don’t see all of the news about the Padres, but would be curious to know if he seems genuinely pumped up about the current situation. Having Hosmer in the lineup might trickle down to help not only Myers, but Margot, Pirela, Renfroe and perhaps even Hedges. Here’s hoping.

SD Don
SD Don
4 years ago

Since Meyers went to the AS game in 2016 he has hit, .237 AVG, .327 OBP, .437 SLG, .764 OPS over the last season and half. Hitting .260 as you state used to be a below average season. What I hope for is a solid first half and we trade him by the break. If Meyers can post a 1.8 WAR in the first half we should be able to get a decent return without eating any salary. I think the ideal spot in the order for him would be the #2 slot, where his speed could be used more.… Read more »

Patrick Brewer
4 years ago
Reply to  SD Don

I read this whole comment and couldn’t get over the fact that you kept spelling Myers* wrong…

SD Don
SD Don
4 years ago
Reply to  Patrick Brewer

I made a mistake and I am glad you thought so much about that.

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