5 Reason Why the Padres Should NOT Sign Eric Hosmer

Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres might sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer.

It’s easy to see why San Diego fans are excited about the possibility: he’s young (28), has already played for a World Champion—the 2015 Royals, hits for power, plays solid defense, and is a clubhouse leader.

According to USA Today, the Padres have already offered Hosmer a seven-year contract, worth roughly $20 million per year.

But here is my warning to A.J. Preller and company: Don’t take the bait. Just walk away from Hosmer, and stay the course with the youth movement. Here are five reasons why:

1- While Hosmer is a good ballplayer, he is hardly elite

Last season, his walk year, was his best season to date: .315/.385/.498 with an .882 OPS, 4.0 WAR , 25 home runs, and 94 RBI. Hosmer also won his fourth Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger award.

But before 2017, his numbers really weren’t much: from 2011-2016, he batted a collective .277/.335/.428, averaging just 17 home runs and 79 RBI. His combined WAR during those six seasons was a meager 10.1—under two wins per year above a replacement value player.

To put that into perspective, compare Hosmer to Chase Headley, nearly everyone’s idea of the “average” ballplayer (minus two spectacular months in 2012). From 2013-2017, Hoadley averaged 12 home runs and 57 RBI, together with a .257/.334/.383 slash. Not too impressive, right? Well, consider also that Headley had a 9.1 WAR, or an average of 2.275 WAR during those four seasons.

In other words, Headley was of greater value to the New York Yankees over four years than Eric Hosmer was to the Kansas City Royals over six years, and the Yankees just traded Headley (back to the Padres, ironically) because they didn’t want to pay him $13 million to play the last season of his contract. And the Padres are offering Hosmer close to or more than $20 million per year!

Credit: KC Star

Consider also that the perennially contending Boston Red Sox resigned first baseman Mitch Moreland for two years at $13 million, rather than pursuing the pricier Hosmer.

As one analyst noted,  Hosmer is not that much better than Moreland when you crunch the numbers.

Question: If you were a general manager, would you offer either Chase Headley (setting aside his age for the moment) or Mitch Moreland a seven-year million contract? Of course not. So then, why would you make that kind of offer to Eric Hosmer, who is only slightly better than both of those players?

2- The Padres will not be contending for at least two years, more likely three

Even though they played better than expected last year with a 71-91 record, the Padres are still a very young ball club. They finished last in batting average and runs, and talented young players like Luis Perdomo, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, and Manuel Margot are still very green.

The Padres have lots of solid minor league talent; players like Fernando Tatis, Jr., Luis Urias, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Joey Lucchesi. Many of them will likely make their major league debuts in 2018, and Mackenzie Gore, their exciting top pick from last June, probably won’t be in a Padre uniform until September 2019 at the very earliest.

And remember, prospects are still just that: prospects. They still have to go through their growing pains, as Padre fans saw former top prospects like Renfroe (.231 average and a .284 OBP) and Hedges (.214 average and .262 OBP) go through last year. But that’s part of the rebuilding process: it just takes time for young ballplayers to adjust to other big league ballplayers, and develop their skills. And some of them just don’t stick. That’s just reality.

All of that to say, is it really wise to splurge on a free agent like Eric Hosmer when you likely won’t be serious contenders until 2020 at the earliest?


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Greg Hoadley
A native of Escondido, Greg is a free-lance writer who currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He remains an avid Padres fan.

This article has 13 Comments

  1. I appreciate your optimism that we’ll be contending in 2-3 years but that’s not going to happen- this isn’t 1984 where you can just add a few veterans. Our big prospects are deep in the developmental phase and still have to pan out.

    You did leave out one reason that is utmost in my mind: AJ has no understanding of front-line major league contracts,whether signing them or taking them on: Here are a few that came, went, or didn’t happen: Wil Myers (80-something million, really?), James Shields, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Melvin Upton,… Jedd Gyorko (yes, we still pay for him even though it wasn’t an AJ deal).

  2. I think it’s time for the Padres. Maybe a year away but on the right track.

    1. Hosmer helps with that.
    2. Padres go get Yelich
    3. We put the Blue uni’s in the trash. Bring the BROWN back. It’s time we get our identity back. It’s time for OUR PADRES TO BE IN BROWN AND START WINNING NOW

    1. Agreed on the blue garbage they wear. Sad we look like the Rays and Brewers. At least hit it with orange or yellow… nm, Blue has to go. I like your #2 on the list, I don’t quite trust our minor league coaching as it’s netted zero, so I say trade for him. Hosmer? Sure, I guess if we’re getting Yelich but I’m a little concerned about money for arms….

  3. Pirela hadn’t spent much time in the majors before last season. He had a nice year and the Padres aren’t contenders this year anyway so why not see if he can do it again. No on Hosmer and CarGo.

  4. Thanks for the great article. Only 5 reasons? There are many more, but time and space are limited. If we had to boil it down to one main reason, it would be: “***But before 2017, his numbers really weren’t much: from 2011-2016, he batted a collective .277/.335/.428, averaging just 17 home runs and 79 RBI. His combined WAR during those six seasons was a meager 10.1—under two wins per year above a replacement value player.”*** Everyone and his cousin’s sister’s brother hit at least 20 homers last year (unless they happened to be on the Padres). So 25 HR’s is not impressive in 2017, and it is actually VERY weak for a first baseman. MLB set the all-time record for homers last year, so it is the best time to be a FA 1B with a bump from 17 HR’s to 25, and it is a bad time to be a buyer of free agents, especially Boras free agents. Buying high on an anomaly-type year is foolish, are the Padres that foolish?

  5. I disagree.
    One, Pirela played out of his mind and most likely won’t repeat, or is part of our future plans.
    Two, Signing Hosmer makes us better at 2 positions. First, and LF where Myers will move. Myers will be one of the most athletic LF in the league and Renfroe will be much better than last year defensively.
    Three, Naylor isn’t out 10th rated prospect anymore. He regressed so to speak last year and is destined to be a DH w his large frame.
    Four, we are most likely offering 18mil a year and Hosmer has all the intangibles, durability, left handed and potentially just peaking. He also has on base skills and a thin frame which could make him a good player for the length of his contract.
    Five, The Royals love this guy and know him better than anyone. If they are offering him around what we are, we most likely will have to overpay a little bit and I’m ok w that since our young guys will be making pennies and our payroll will still be very low, and those salary dumps will be mostly gone by next year where we will still have plenty of money to sign a Kuechel to anchor the rotation. I also think we should trade for Yelich, and send Renfroe, Spangenberg, Morejon, and Quantrill packing.

    1. I’m glad you pointed out Myer’s athletic ability in LF. I think he will excel in LF. He is not a center fielder and was playing out of position during his first year as a Padre. He was a corner outfielder during his ROY campaign. That’s where he belongs.

      I think that package would get Yelich but I wouldn’t include Morejon . I don’t see why we need to give up two of our top 5 prospects for Yelich. In a perfect Padre world our number 13 prospect Logan Allen would work.

      Hosmer is a great opportunity to lock down 2 veteran position players for our multiple world series runs.
      Potential 2019 Line up:
      Headley (I’m playing)

      1. I like your proposal better. I think we should trade for Yelich if we’re going to get Hosmer. That’d be two solid young vets. Definitely should trade Hand to recoup some if the prospects lost for Yelich. I definitely think we need a SS for the future. Tatis is prob a 3b long term. If we could get Baez for Hand straight up, I’d pull the trigger. His pop would make up for Hosmer and Yelichs contactstyle and lack of big power you’d expect from a corner OF and 1B. Once Myers reasserts himself as a good player, we could trade him if Cordero develops. I’m really excited about him. Trade Naylor as he’s blocked, Headley and Solarte need to go as well asap. Give Asuaje and Villanueva time this year to see what they can do. If there is an injury Pirela can step in at a lot of positions. Not sure his value,but you could flip him as well.
        Exciting time to be a Padre fan. Nice to see this site putting up fun articles daily.

      2. I’d agree with the Yelich trade but I have the feeling Jeter’s ego is in shambles so he’s gonna ask for more than what you listed B-rad. I mean, I think that’s a fair swap but I think he’s gonna be looking for a trade that cements the “next phase” of the franchise (whether or not he cares truly). He’s not much in the brain dept. or as a salesman so I don’t know if we can get Yelich without paying dearly. I think it’s one of those trades that comes with a few top ten prospects in it.

    2. B-rad?!!? Man, I’m with you on your stuff normally but Myers is a garbage outfielder. I think he can learn but now is not the time! Anyway, agreed on the rest of it. Wil would really need to get to work though, I don’t quite see why he’s been so bad out there.

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