Posted on February 18, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
After a long, drawn-out free agent process, Eric Hosmer has finally made up his mind. Late Saturday night, reports surfaced that Hosmer has agreed to sign with the San Diego Padres. The deal is reportedly worth $144 million over eight years. It will be the largest contract in Padres history and one of the more surprising free agent signings of the offseason.
According to reports, the contract is front loaded. Hosmer will make an average of $21 million over the first five years and an average of $13 million per season over the final three years. However, Hosmer has an opt-out clause after the fifth year, meaning he could return to the free agent market after the 2022 season. He will also have a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the deal.
Despite Hosmer being one of the top free agents available, there appeared to be limited interest in him over the winter. For a long time, it appeared to be a two-horse race between the Royals and Padres. Both reportedly had offered Hosmer a 7-year contract while he held out for a 9-year deal. In the end, the Padres were willing to go with eight years, and that was enough to persuade Hosmer to head to San Diego.
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The Royals no doubt had interest in bringing Hosmer back to Kansas City. But they remained reluctant to cave to his contract demands and promise the 28-year old Hosmer more than seven years. On the other hand, the Padres made it clear from early in the offseason that Hosmer was their top target. Not only do they view him as a productive player, but they also appreciate his leadership skills on a young team that hopes to become competitive in the years to come.
Hosmer, of course, will immediately become San Diego’s everyday first baseman, pushing Wil Myers out of that role. However, Myers told the Padres early in the offseason that he’d be willing to switch positions if the team was able to land Hosmer. Myers spent the early part of his career in the outfield, playing primarily in right field.
Myers figures to team up with Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe to give the Padres an intriguing young outfield trio. The 23-year old Margot is a promising two-way player while Renfroe adds plenty of power after contributing 26 home runs last year. The Padres also have depth in Jose Pirela, who was productive in a part-time role last season. Meanwhile, Hosmer will become the anchor of the San Diego infield for the foreseeable future.
The addition of Hosmer is no doubt a step in the right direction for the Padres. He gives them a veteran to help lead their young core of Myers, Margot, Renfroe, and others into the future. Making such a large financial commitment to Hosmer is a risk. However, it has a chance to pay off in the long run. Hosmer represents a big step forward in the rebuilding process and gets them much closer to becoming a competitive team.