Is it Time For Padres to Cut Ties with Wil Myers?

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

The time may have come for the Padres and Wil Myers to cut ties.

Although Myers does have the athleticism to be a star, he appears to lack the intensity and other intangibles necessary to achieve stardom. The 2013 American League Rookie of the Year has certainly not lived up to the expectations the Padres had for him when general manager A.J. Preller signed him to a 6-year, $83 million contract in January of 2017.

But the team has not lived up to its part of the bargain either.  Instead, the front office anointed him the face of the franchise, and then backed off of the designation. Worse, the team has moved him from position to position, almost guaranteeing that he does not live up to his promise or his contract.

Of course, a variety of injuries have not helped.  In his entire major league career, including stops in Kansas City, Tampa, and San Diego, Myers has topped out at 157 and 155 games in 2016 and 2017 respectively. With the Rays in the two years before the trade, he averaged fewer than 90 games a season.

While with the Padres, he’s been burdened by the performance of the players (especially shortstop Trea Turner) the Padres gave up to acquire him in a three-way trade that included the Rays and Nationals. The loss of a promising young shortstop, who could also hit, left a lingering bad taste especially in light of the fact that shortstop had been a black hole since the forced departure of Khalil Greene in 2008.

Preller traded for Myers undoubtedly in part because the year before he took over, the Padres ranked last in runs scored with 535 and had a miserable OPS of .634.  Surely a hitter the caliber of the young Myers could help goose up those numbers. In 2015 the Padres did improve in OPS to .685 but still ranked last, while scoring 650 runs good enough for 23rdplace.

In his tenure with the Padres, Myers has performed better at the plate than in the field.  Not coincidentally, his best years on both sides of the ball came in 2016-17 when he played first base regularly. He stayed healthier, played far more games and put up above average (although not earth-shattering) numbers as a hitter. In fact, the batting line from both seasons is remarkably similar: .259/.336/.427/.763 in 2016, .243//.328/.464/.792 the following year.

Instead of keeping Myers at first, the Padres surprised just about everyone by signing Eric Hosmer in the offseason to an eight-year, $144 million contract that dwarfs Myers’ deal.  Hosmer would not only supplant Myers at first but also as the new face of the franchise. Then, to complicate matters (and undoubtedly make Myers feel slighted), a crowded outfield made him the odd man out.  Almost as an afterthought, the Padres decided to stick him at third base.

In his first year, the Padres assumed Myers’ athleticism would play well in center field, a serious misjudgment that led to a -23.7 UZR/150.  However, in right or left field his defense has been passable. Of the several positions he has played, he’s been most successful at first and that has carried over into his offense.

Credit: AP Photo

Myers even made the MLB All-Star team in 2016, the year in which the Padres hosted the event.  His FanGraphs WAR of 3.5 for the first half of that season matched that of Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the two topping all major league first baseman. Then, by his own admission, Myers slacked off the rest of the season. Therein lies another piece to the puzzle called Wil Myers.  He doesn’t have much of a filter and makes unscripted comments that come back to bite him.

Most recently, Myers complained to a fellow Padre about manager Andy Green insisting that he participate in drills designed to improve his defense at third. Of course, the comment made the news, and he had to publically apologize to his manager.

Add that embarrassment to his six errors in 34 games at third base, and Myers must want this season to end yesterday. Before this year, he had played third in only 16 games (mostly at the Triple-A level for the Rays), so there’s bound to be a learning curve.

At 27, Myers hasn’t reached that decline which begins around the age of 30 for most ballplayers. He’s still a talented player, and, if he can stay healthy (a big if) he could contribute to another club.  He could even possibly thrive if actually kept in a position in which he feels comfortable.

Teams will not be knocking down the door to trade for Myers this offseason, but a change of scenery could benefit both the player and the team. The Padres would probably have to eat some of his salary, but that wouldn’t be a first for Preller and company.

While Myers has largely been a disappointment in his tenure with San Diego, the front office must take a large share of the blame for the situation. He’s been tossed from position to position, supplanted by a replacement at both first and as the face of the franchise, and been embarrassed and frustrated at third. A fresh start makes sense for all involved.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.

14 thoughts on “Is it Time For Padres to Cut Ties with Wil Myers?

  1. Gotta agree with Greg and Tanned Tom. Myers said he was bored in the outfield. He looks bored no matter where they play him. He seems to often take the first strike no matter how fat it may be and he looks to be trying to guess what the pitcher will throw instead of just reacting. More times than I care to remember he guesses wrong and he’s frozen. I say, hopefully he starts out 2019 semi-hot at the plate and if we are not going to contend, trade him before the dead-line. He can still play first or be a Dh in the American League.

  2. You talk about these drills but all those errors he had, 3 I believe happened after green’s smack talk. It’ll be pretty sweet if the padres got rid of green and they brought in a real manager

    1. We don’t get to have real managers. Preller seems to like “yes men”. A real manager would either help guys like Margot and Myers get going or straighten their lazy asses out. He’d also ask why in the hell guys like Spangenberg are taking up space in the clubhouse. AJ’s MLB rosters are always sad and you need a crap manager to complement that. We’re not going to see a Dick Williams, a Trader Jack, or a Bruce Bochy ever in AJ’s tenure. It’s exactly why there was no room for Doc in this organization. Very bad move to let him walk.

  3. You can try to analyze any player you want, but for me it comes down to one thing for me for a player who seems to have underperformed…
    character. To me, Myers is a hot dog who doesn’t want to give a 110%. Trade him, and suck up a portion of the contract. The clubhouse will be better off. Team chemistry matters. Hustle matters. Desire to be the best matters.

  4. Y-E-S!!

    Couldn’t agree more…I wasn’t all that excited about the trade that brought WM here in the first place because I wasn’t convinced he’d live up to the hype and I felt strongly Turner was a budding superstar…

    I know it’s easy to say “I told you so,” but I’m hoping the team an WM part ways this off season…

    BTW, I was hoping I was wrong about WM and I did root for him just as much as any other Padre, but I will not miss watching him stand at the plate and watch one of his fly balls fall short and him “cruise” into “2nd with a stand up triple” or what SHOULD HAVE been a triple…

    Trade him to an AL team that needs a right-handed DH…please…

    Go Pads!!

  5. No, they signed him to that deal and to take on a different sh!tty contract makes no sense. Myers has shown glimpses of being a really good hitter and can very easily be a part of the next good Padre team. Let him spend the winter doing drills at 3rd and let him get comfortable at a position for once, we may see him grow as a player.

  6. That’s a thorough enough and very accurate characterization of Myers. I don’t entirely blame the guy for his lack of production but I do think the front office should shoulder some of that blame. His contract is baffling (like Hosmer’s) but Hosmer can sit around at 1B for the rest of his career and decline. Wil has to sit on a merry-go-round and do that- only on the Padres, right? AJ has a very odd system in place for acquiring “stars” and none of them seem to be able to hit over .250 or produce a decent WAR.

    I’d love to see them cut ties with Wil so he can go play Fortnite… but is there an opt out clause in his deal? This is what I’m curious about. I’m hoping Hosmer can both produce a little and raise his value (so he can opt out) but I am under the impression that we are stuck with Wil. I’m guessing the only possible scenario is to ship him with a highly touted prospect and $ to another club willing to pay him out an cut him (basically a large scale version of the interesting move Preller made to acquire Mitchell and be burdened with Headley). Otherwise, paying out the remainder of his deal seems financially improbable at this point.

    Good luck to us going forward. You can’t build a winner without veteran leadership and yet, the front office’s assessment of leaders and their value seems to be terribly misguided. This team is staring down 70 wins next season IF we add a decent SP and that’s the best case scenario. While we do have a glut of prospects on the rise, people seem to forget how loaded the NL West has become. Basically, the moment the Giants reload, we are looking at 4 teams who will contend for the playoffs in one division. Bootleg coaching and leadership on the field isn’t going to get us out of the cellar.

    1. People forget how loaded the NL west is, because it isn’t in the future. Giants reload? They have a bottom 5 farm and a roster full of over the hill Veterans on bloated contracts. The earliest they compete again is in 5-6 years. The Diamondbacks are in a similar situation as the Giants, but worse because they don’t have the financial power the Giants do. The Rockies are currently in a window that is slowly closing, LeMaheiu and Arenando are almost gone and Blackmon is a 32 year old outfielder they just extended. They blew their load on all of those relief guys this offseason and are playing to win now. The Dodgers are the only team that is here to stay. The timing of the Padres possible window of contention actually couldn’t be much more ideal.

      1. Well the Giants have cash and seem to put together championship teams, often out of role players who do nothing on any other teams. I wouldn’t ever count them out. Farm systems are great but they don’t guarantee excellence (just look at our team and history of developing prospects). I would agree on AZ but I think the Rockies are building something, not working on a downturn. Either way, we are going to be fighting for 4th place again next year.

  7. Perception and reality with Myers seem to be in completely different spectrum. Anything can be painted in a negative light if you’re searching for that answer. I think the issue is that expectations are that Myers needs to be a superstar and anything short of that deems him a failure. Fact is that Myers is by far our best position player and has the highest ceiling and it’s not even close. In only playing half of the games this year he is still close to a 2 WAR player, which is tops on the team, even those that are hyped to have “made progress and had good years” like Renfroe, Jankowski and Reyes. When Myers has had a full season of AB’s he tends to be more of a 2.5-3.5 WAR player with higher upside. People continue to criticize his extension, but when compared in relation to similar contracts players have signed, his contract actually has SURPLUS value. Myers is making 2M plus 2.5 for a signing bonus and adds only 1M next year. Even when his salary increases in 2020 to 20M per season, he still provides value at current production. Fangraphs estimates that in free agency the value per WAR is 11.1M in 2018. In 2020 it will be 12.4M. Even at 2-2.5 WAR production he is providing surplus value on his contract, especially in his early seasons.

    What is emphasized in this article is that he is a poor center fielder(fact), but discredits him being good defensively in the corner outfield UZR/150 of 15.6 in LF and 32.2 in RF this season. The position he chooses is mostly out of his control. The best he can do is move where Green/Preller think he can help the team. There is not 1 other player on this team that could move from spot to spot and be average or better, that should be considered an immense asset.

    The issue with Myers is that he has season where he gets injured and misses significant parts of the season. With the Padres though he has shown up and played until the DL stints this season. In 2016 and 2017 it wasn’t just 157 and 155 games respectively, he was top 30 in all of MLB in AB’s those years. There are extremely few that play all 162. That is nothing to dismiss and doesn’t suggest a player that can’t stay on the field for the Padres.

    My question to others in why would we want to get rid of our best player? Even if you have the perception that he’s injury prone, he still is our best player when he plays and for the Padres that has been the majority of the time he’s been here. I understand if we had the Astros lineup and had a plethora of great young talent, but the fact is that we don’t. It would be foolish of Preller to trade a guy who not only has shown he can be a very good player with great player potential.

    1. 1) Myers has a career BA of .254 and a OBP of .329, these are league average numbers, including pitchers, reserves, and glove first players. When compared to corner IFs and OFs this is below average production. A playoff team will get better production from those positions.
      2) He is brittle. You can’t add value from the DL.
      3) His attitude sucks. There have been numerous reports of his slacker attitude. Go ahead and name a great player with a reputation as a slacker. Myers has a rep as “not a winning player”.
      4) Even if we accept your idea that Myers is our best position player, that isn’t saying much on a team filled with young players who haven’t reached their potential.
      5) He is 28 in December, there should be no more talk of his ceiling. What we are seeing is what his level is.

      A rebuilding team needs to be careful not to settle for a player like this. It’ll be hard to trade him with his bad contract and rep., but that’s what’s indicated.

  8. Despite his injuries and playing out of position, Wil Myers has the highest fWAR and bWAR of anyone on this team. He is, right now, the most talented position player on the roster. Instead of trading him, just keep him at one position (preferably LF), and give him some protection in the lineup. I think Myers would play better if he had Tatis batting after him.

  9. Preller has Two sides.
    1) the admirable job of elevating the Padres to be the best minor league team and recognizing younger talent the other 2) terrible at signing player Kemp, Shields, Uptown and Hosmer a mediocre player. The time calls for this: new general manager for deals and Preller player development exclusively.

  10. You are right. Problem is who’s going to want him? He’s a league average hitter – below average if compared to corner IFs or OFs. He’s only been decent defensively, never good, and 1b is his best position, which is the easiest position to fill. If a free agent he’d be looking at very short term deal, for not a lot of money, something like what Moustakas signed last off season. And there’s his attitude, which is not a winning one.
    So sure, trade him if you can. Pay 2/3s of his salary and take back prospects.
    What was Preller thinking when he signed him to this extension? Think those attitude and injury issues were unknown? No, they felt he would grow into a new role, AFTER they extended him. That’s just dumb.
    The real issue is that this extension is part of a pattern of ineptitude by the front office. Every big dollar move has blown up in their face. Trading for clubhouse jerk Matt Kemp, signing #4 Shields at #1 money, taking the Melvin Upton poison pill to get Kimbrel, and now the laughing stock signing of Hosmer.
    At least folks are going to consider the terms when called about Myers, if we tried to shop Hosmer people are just going to laugh their asses off and hang up.

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