It’s February, and in a most unprecedented turn of events, many of Major League Baseball’s biggest free-agents remain unsigned.
This includes Eric Hosmer, whom the Padres have reportedly been pursuing the entire off-season.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported back in January that the Padres had made an offer to Hosmer of seven-years for less than $140 million. In a radio interview with The Mighty 1090 on January 16, Padres Executive Chairman, Ron Fowler, confirmed that the team had indeed made an offer to Hosmer, but he didn’t divulge many new details.
Well here we are about half a month later, still being driven out of our minds with Hosmer rumors floating around social media, day in and day out.
The most recent morsel of information that has been brought forward is that Hosmer is looking for a deal longer than seven years, as reported on Wednesday by Jon Morosi.
It’s not looking like things are shifting in the Padres’ direction at this point, however. Rumors are just rumors. There’s a chance that this report is simply Hosmer’s agent, Scott Boras, posturing in the eleventh hour. Hosmer isn’t in a great bargaining position, as there aren’t that many teams reported to be actively pursuing him. Lack of suitors, along with the fact that this has been the slowest off-season for free agent signings in recent memory, indicates that Hosmer may end up taking a lot less than his asking price in the end.
In the event that Hosmer and Boras are serious about their demands, the Padres really need to consider taking a pass. Seven years for $140 million is way too much for this team to spend on a player like Hosmer. Take the amount of years up to eight for more money; it’s just obscene. The team should especially think twice about going over the top on Hosmer since they may have a player in their system already who could end up being very Hosmer-like at virtually no cost.
We’re looking for a left-handed hitter with some power and the ability to get on base, right? Perhaps we’ve forgotten about Alex Dickerson because he missed all of last season. But he’s been activated from the disabled list and is ready to take the field in spring training.
Yes, of course it’s obvious that Dickerson has not proven himself to be the player that Hosmer already has. His numbers aren’t the same as those put up by Hosmer in 2017, but can he get there?
In Hosmer’s rookie season with the Royals in 2011, he slashed .293/.334/.465 with 19 home runs and a wRC+ of 113 in 563 plate appearances. In Dickerson’s rookie season with the Padres in 2016, he slashed .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a wRC+ of 112 in 285 plate appearances. Upon close inspection, those numbers look strikingly similar. Dickerson’s average was down a little bit from Hosmer’s, but their OBP and slugging percentages were almost identical. Dickerson probably would have hit as many dingers as Hosmer if he had gotten as many plate appearances. Also, they had almost the same wRC+. Are we missing something here?
Dickerson can play left field, which actually provides the Padres with more value than Hosmer would at first base only. If the team is really dead set on moving Myers back to the outfield (which they aren’t), guess what? Dickerson can also play first base. Yes I know, his defense at first wasn’t stellar in El Paso. That’s okay, Hosmer isn’t actually that great defensively either. Plus, Dickerson can improve at the position with time. It’s better taking a risk on him there than taking a risk on Hosmer, who won’t be able to move anywhere else on the field.
If Dickerson can come back strong from his bulging disk issues in 2018, he could really be the left-handed bat that the Padres have been needing for a long time. Dickerson is under five years of team control. Imagine what a super value he would provide this team, even if he only becomes three-quarters of the player that Hosmer is. It seems like a no-brainer for the team to make sure that they don’t already have an Eric Hosmer on the roster before adding another one. “Prestige value” be darned.