After the 2017 season, the San Diego Padres were desperate to make a splash in free agency.
They were trying to announce their entry into MLB’s upper tier of contenders, and had an amazing project filled with prospects who could potentially be high-impact.
They may have picked the wrong free agent to splash the cash on, though.
They gave Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract that they are now desperate to get rid of.
It’s hard to blame them, though: he had hit 25 home runs, driven in 94 runs and finished with 4.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2017 for the Kansas City Royals.
There were talks, before last year’s deadline and during the offseason, that San Diego was even willing to pair a nice prospect with Hosmer so someone could take his contract.
But they had no luck.
Hosmer Is A Liability
He was below-average in 2018 and 2019 according to wRC+ – which means weighted Runs Created Plus and considers a player’s offensive performance with 100 being average: anything lower is below-average, and anything higher is above-average production – as he finished at 95 and 92, respectively.
He improved in 2020, with a 128 wRC+, but with a short season.
Last year, he slashed .269/.337/.395 with just 12 home runs and a .732 OPS: he was worth 0.0 WAR!
No matter his struggles, star infielder Manny Machado is going to bat for him when he talks with the media.
“’I’m glad he’s here and he’s gonna continue to be here, and if not I’m gonna be a very mad, bad, mad person.’ Manny Machado, talking about Eric Hosmer,” Padres beat writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune Kevin Acee tweeted.
“I'm glad he's here and he's gonna continue to be here, and if not I'm gonna be a very mad, bad, mad person.”
Manny Machado, talking about Eric Hosmer.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) April 15, 2022
It’s not surprising to see one of Hosmer’s teammates defending him, but if the Padres want to make a deep postseason run, they can’t have Hosmer as their regular first baseman.
The Padres also think that way: otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought in Luke Voit via trade.