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Sunday, September 19, 2021

San Diego Padres sign Eric Hosmer

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Another major domino fell in what has been one of the slowest MLB offseasons in recent history: Eric Hosmer has officially signed with the San Diego Padres. The contract number is staggering, especially from the Padres point of view. Hosmer signed with the Padres for eight years and $144 Million. To put that into perspective, the largest free agent contract the Padres had signed before Hosmer was James Shields in 2015 for $75 Million. Before Shields, however, the largest free agent signing was Brian Giles for $30 Million. The commitment to Hosmer shows one thing in San Diego, the Padres are ready to turn the corner and compete.
The Padres, even with Homser, will not be ready to compete in the NL West for at least one more year.
With the addition of Hosmer, he adds stability and leadership to an extremely young group of talented players making their way through the Padres farm system. Hosmer had been a key clubhouse leader in Kansas City for the majority of his seven years with the Royals. He was a major contributor to the Royals’ team that won a World Series in 2015, and the Padres wanted to bring Hosmer in for the intangibles he brings to the game, as well as the ability he has shown as a first baseman.
The question in San Diego now revolves around the overloaded outfield. What will the Padres do with Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Jose Pirela, Travis Jankowski, and Alex Dickerson?
Myers will probably be given the choice of which corner outfield position he would like to play, since he is one of the marquee players in San Diego. Also,  Hosmer will move Myers out of his regular position: first base. Myers does have some valuable experience in the outfield, however. He came up to the Big leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays as an outfielder and then moved to first base to accommodate Justin Upton and Matt Kemp in 2015 with the Padres. With Myers and Margot locked in the outfield for 2018, the question now becomes: What will the Padres do with four MLB caliber outfielders and one open position?
Pirela had a breakout campaign in 2017 with the Padres after Jankowski went down for nearly the entire year with a broken foot. Jankowski missed most of the 2017 season with the aforementioned broken foot, but he offers speed and quickness that is seldom seen in the MLB. Alex Dickerson missed all of 2017 with a torn hamstring, but he had shown power and promise before injury struck. The projected favorite, however, should ultimately be Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe has shown that he has power comparable to Giancarlo Stanton. Renfroe is the only player to have hit a home run over the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field at Petco Park, and let’s not forget he did it twice! As a rookie, Renfroe struggled with hitting for average. He hit .231 last year, but he did have 25 home runs and 58 RBIs. He would provide protection for Myers and Hosmer in the middle of the order. His defense is sub-par to be generous, but he may move to left field to accommodate Myers. That may ultimately be a better move for Renfroe so that he does not have to deal with the nooks and crannies built into right field in San Diego.
The San Diego Padres aren’t quite ready to make the jump from the bottom of the NL West to playoff contenders, even with the addition of Hosmer. In reality, the addition of Hosmer raises more questions than answers. An overloaded outfield became even more crowded and the Padres now have some major decisions to make during spring training. Maybe there is a potential trade for a top of the line starter (Chris Archer?), or maybe the Padres end up sending some of the young players down to AAA to start the year.
One thing is an absolute lock in San Diego: the Padres are serious about building a consistent winner for the future.

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