The Padres have signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to an 8-year, $144 million deal with an opt-out after five seasons, finally bringing an end to a winter full of questions about where the talented free agent would land.
The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee was the first to break news of the signing on Saturday night, while MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi was the first to report the length of the deal. Hosmer’s deal will be front-loaded, as he’ll receive a $5 million signing bonus and $20 million salary in each of the first five seasons, followed by a $13 million salary in each of the last three if he doesn’t opt out. His average annual value will be $18 million, all adding up to a $144 million guarantee over eight years — the largest in Padres franchise history. Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller was the first to break the financial figures on Saturday night while also reporting that Hosmer will receive a full no-trade clause over the first three years of the deal, then limited no-trade protection thereafter.
Hosmer, 28, will take over as the Padres’ everyday first baseman and will undoubtedly be one of the primary faces of their team as they look to begin competing again over the next couple seasons. The Padres will hope that Hosmer, who has posted OPS+’s of 118, 118, 122, and 132 in odd years while posting OPS+’s of 81, 99, and 102 in even years, can become more consistent as he joins a new team for the first time.
Hosmer, who posted a career-best .318/.385/.498 slash line over 671 plate appearances in 2017, has already played in two World Series before the age of 30, so while he might not be as highly-regarded as first basemen like Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto, he certainly has quite a bit of positive experience to draw from as he embraces a leadership role in San Diego.
The acquisition of Hosmer will push incumbent first baseman Wil Myers back to an outfield position for the foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see who is demoted to a bench role as a consequence of Myers’ return to the outfield, as 28-year-old left fielder Jose Pirela led the Padres with a 122 OPS+ in 2017, while 26-year-old right fielder Hunter Renfroe — long regarded as one of the organization’s top prospects — endured a bit of an up-and-down rookie season but still managed to hit 26 homers.
With the Royals falling short in their bid to retain their franchise first baseman, it should be interesting to see how they proceed. Lorenzo Cain has already signed in Milwaukee, Mike Moustakas is likely headed elsewhere, and the Royals have no star prospects on the horizon. While GM Dayton Moore has consistently operated with the intent to compete since the prospects he drafted and acquired began arriving in the majors in the early 2010s, it’s now possible that Kansas City could become the latest team to trade off key pieces and undergo a multi-year rebuild from the bottom up.