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MLB free agency: Padres met with Eric Hosmer

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The rumors connecting Eric Hosmer and the Padres continue to persist.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Kansas City Royals Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

Generally clubs like the Padres that are in the middle of multi-year rebuilds don’t make aggressive bids to sign top free agents, but San Diego continues to be connected to Eric Hosmer, one of the most highly-regarded players on the market this winter. The Padres took the next step in their pursuit on Thursday, with members of San Diego’s front office meeting with Hosmer according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale.

The possibility of Hosmer going to the Padres, first suggested by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal in early November, was initially seen as something of a pipe dream due to the fact that San Diego already has an established first baseman signed to a long-term deal in Wil Myers. But Myers was primarily an outfielder up until 2015, and he’s agreed to go back to the outfield if the Padres sign Hosmer, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Dennis Lin of The San Diego Union-Tribune reported earlier this week.

San Diego’s pitching staff is still so green and devoid of depth that it’s nearly impossible to imagine them competing in the NL West next season even if they sign Hosmer. But with intriguing young major-leaguers like Manuel Margot and Austin Hedges and an increasingly promising farm system, the Padres may be able to work their way back to relevance by 2019 or 2020, in which case Myers and Hosmer could serve as veteran anchors in the middle of the lineup.

While this offseason has provided plenty of unexpected twists, there aren’t a ton more obvious fits for Hosmer if he doesn’t go to San Diego or rejoin the Royals. The Red Sox could be in the market for a free-agent first baseman, and Hosmer could be an option if the Cardinals look to add a veteran corner infielder, but virtually every other club is set at first base or unlikely to spend the money necessary to sign Hosmer this winter.