Forget Hosmer- Should the Padres Throw Money at a Pitcher Instead?

Credit: USA Today

The San Diego Padres seem to still be in the running for Eric Hosmer. This is getting exhausting. The latest rumors have the Padres’ offer at about $140 million. There is no guarantee that is even true, but where there is smoke, there is usually a fire.

That’s a lot of dough for a guy like Hosmer. He’s a quality baseball player, but certainly first base is not the most glaring need the Padres have (meet Wil Myers: 30 HR, 110 OPS+). As I stated in my previous article, starting pitching seems to be the most visible need.

This offseason has been the worst and we are forced to dive into a lot of “what if?” scenarios and pipe dreams. So join me as we go down another rabbit hole.

What if they took Hosmer’s offer and applied maybe even a portion of that towards finding a quality starting pitcher. Jake Arrieta may end up being more expensive than Hosmer, and maybe Yu Darvish as well. So let’s rule them out. This isn’t the greatest crop of starting pitching free agency has ever seen, but there are some quality arms to be had.

Let’s dive into more realistic options.

Chris Tillman

In EVT’s offseason simulation with writers from the other 29 teams, we had “signed” Tillman to the Padres.

Spotrac has Tillman’s market value at $9.4 million per year. Now, he did have a bit of a down year last season, with a 7.84 ERA and a measly 55 ERA+. However, he has a good track record. Between 2012 and 2016, he had four seasons under a 4.00 ERA and made 30+ starts in four consecutive seasons from 2013 to 2016. He also has put up four seasons of at least a 110 ERA+.

The knock on Tillman is that he will be 30 in April and is coming off of one of his worst seasons. That’s not usually a good sign. However, he battled injuries throughout the season and never really got right. The Padres would certainly be wary of signing him into his mid-30s, but if the price is right ($9.4 million is a bit too steep), they could sign him for a two or three-year deal to bolster this clearly weak rotation.

Alex Cobb

Cobb is in a similar situation as Tillman with being 30 years old. His price is a lot higher (perceived market value is $18.3 million) as his production has been better than that of Tillman. He is coming off of a much better season with a 3.66 ERA, 12 wins and a 113 ERA+ for the Rays. He led the Rays starting staff in wins, ERA, and ERA+. He clearly would improve this rotation.

Credit: USA Today

Cobb also doesn’t have the wear on the treads that Tillman does. Although they are the same age, Cobb has thrown 700 innings compared to Tillman’s 1,118 innings. He is also more of a strikeout pitcher than Tillman. Cobb may be more expensive, but he is more likely to produce favorable results.

Lance Lynn

The last one among the more expensive options is Lynn. Spotrac has him at $16.9 million per year. He is also 30 years old, but has yet to hit the 1,000 innings threshold. He has a solid track record for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was an All-Star in 2012. Last season he had a 3.43 ERA with a nice 124 ERA+ and 153 strikeouts.

Why not sign him for the next two or three years? Maybe he will be in the rotation for the first Padres team to start really competing. He could add depth in a solid rotation and at least buoy the current one from the depths of despair. He is a bit expensive, but I would much rather find a proven starting pitcher for the next few years than be locked into a good-not-great first baseman when we already have one.

Scott Feldman

Now to look more for a “Band-Aid” option for 2018 and maybe not beyond that. Feldman will be 35. He’s not a sexy, exciting name. He made 21 starts for the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, winning seven games with a 4.77 ERA and a 92 ERA+. The Padres might be able to get Feldman for $2 million this season, which would certainly not break the bank. Heck, they gave Jered Weaver $3 million, so why not?

Feldman is also versatile in the fact that he could come out of the bullpen as well. It’s not as exciting, but he could at least give a bit of depth to a hurting rotation.

Bartolo Colon

Because why not? He is reportedly open to a minor league deal, most likely with the Mets, but why wouldn’t he want to play where he hit his legendary home run? The guy just throws strikes. He did have a bad start to the year with the Atlanta Braves (8.14 ERA in 13 starts) and it actually was the Padres who helped the Braves send him packing, scoring six runs in his final start in Atlanta.

When he went to the Twins, he had a much better time. In 15 starts, he had a 5.18 ERA in 80 innings. If anything, he could be an innings eater. Plus, imagine the fanfare that would follow the legend of Colon. Is he the same pitcher that won the 2005 American League Cy Young? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute and maybe even help in Clayton Richard’s quest to lead this group of young, rising arms. I am sure they could benefit from picking a brain like Colon’s. Who doesn’t want Big Sexy in America’s Finest City?

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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.

This article has 7 Comments

  1. If Mitchell isn’t ticketed for the rotation why did they take on Headley’s salary. I say no to all these pitchers.

  2. I think Tillman at 7.5 mil on a one year prove it with Balsley’s tutelage would bode well for both parties. And on a 6 man rotation he wouldn’t need to pitch thru injury if he needed a break. He’d be the best bet to flip at the deadline, or even sign to an extension during the season if we choose.

  3. You have the right to your opinion, but I like the group of low risk, high upside guys we have in the mix now. Nobody on your list jumps out at me. A move for a starter would block someone who needs this year to show they have something to offer. Either for us long term or as a trade chip later this season.

    If you signed someone and 5 or 6 of the guys we have now have a better spring would you move the highest paid pitcher to a swing man position in the bullpen, The answer is NO. Ross might have a turn around and IMO is a better starter than anyone on your list. Strahm and Mitchell have solid upside also. Joey Lucchesi is real close if these current options don’t pan out.

    Our biggest area of concern is OBP, batting average and Run Scoring. When we get our position players set performing at a contending level (25.0 – 30.0 WAR combined) our pitching will be ready out of the prospects we have in the overall system. I believe that we will see a return out of this crop of starters we have now.

    1. I totally agree with your comments. I say no to Hosmer because a 7 year deal is too long. 5 years, and I would say go for it. I wait and sign 1 big time pitcher in 2019 or 2020, when the team will be competing for a title. Let’s see what the young guys can do!

    2. Don is right I would hate to have another jerad Weaver stinking up the place and blocking our youth. I would like the hosmer signing because it gives a left handed bat to protect myer and renfroe. NTM I believe hosmer will age much better then any first basemen so our money should get put to good use.

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