For San Diego, it was a huge investment in a player that the organization hoped would help take things to the next level.
But late last week, the Padres made a trade for young star Adam Frazier, and based on speculation, the trade could jeopardize Hosmer’s playing time going forward.
The Padres just sent a clear message to the NL….and to Eric Hosmer
— CirclinTheBases (@CirclinTheBases) July 25, 2021
This all begs the question: Has Hosmer’s contract been worth it?
We’re going to find out today.
Ultimately, we’re going to be giving the contract a letter grade, but before we get there, let’s weigh some of the factors that are going to contribute to the verdict.
How does Hosmer measure up in these categories?
Wins Above Replacement
Most fans would agree that Wins Above Replacement (or WAR) is the most well-rounded statistic available to us.
Unfortunately for Hosmer, the stat doesn’t paint him in a very charming light.
In fact, this could be the most compelling argument against Hosmer’s time as a Padre.
The 31-year-old is in the middle of his fourth season with the team, and he is making an average annual salary of $21 million.
For every player, salaries were prorated during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, so we’ll keep that in mind here.
But overall, once Hosmer finishes this campaign, he’ll have made about $71.5 million in a Padres uniform.
San Diego’s return for that investment?
A total WAR of 2.1 so far.
There’s really no way around it: That’s not good at all.
To think that the Padres have paid such a massive amount of money for a net gain of two wins is a very tough pill to swallow.
Overall Offensive Production
Even before signing with San Diego, Hosmer was rarely a great offensive player.
Good at times, but rarely great.
Evidence: During his seven-year tenure with the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer totaled an OPS of just .781 and an OPS+ of 111.
At his best, he posted an OPS of .882 and an OPS+ of 133 during the 2017 season.
At his worst, he posted an OPS of .663 and an OPS+ of 81 during the 2012 season.
In other words, you never really knew what you were going to get.
That trend has remained consistent during Hosmer’s stint with the Padres.
If you remove the COVID-shortened 2020 season in which he was able to post some really solid numbers over a very small 38-game sample size, here’s what you’re left with:
- .720 OPS and 100 OPS+ in the 2018 season.
- .735 OPS and 94 OPS+ in the 2019 season.
- .710 OPS and 100 OPS+ so far in the 2021 season.
Those are some really mediocre numbers.
You could live with that type of production if it were coming from a player on a smaller deal, but when you’re paying $21 million a year for it, those numbers aren’t going to satisfy many people.
Overall Defensive Production
Things don’t get much better in the defensive department.
Hosmer has a -3.3 defensive WAR as a Padre.
WAR typically isn’t kind to first basemen, so it’s fair if you want to throw that stat out the window.
However, if you go by other major defensive metrics like Defensive Runs Saved, Hosmer has still been very underwhelming.
Eric Hosmer can’t find a pop up and it drops right next to him pic.twitter.com/zz73SgRm8C
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 4, 2021
Going into the deal, that’s probably not what the Padres expected from the four-time Gold Glover.
Overall Grade For The Contract: D+
Here’s the thing: Based on our specs, the deal looks like a disaster.
However, there’s one big reason we aren’t giving it a failing grade: The Padres are exactly where they want to be.
The club’s rebuild has been a massive success, and with just a few months left in the 2021 regular season, San Diego looks like a playoff team for sure.
On that basis alone, it’s hard to call the Hosmer deal a total bust.
It gets a D+ so far.