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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hosmer, eight years to upgrade the Padres

Por Fidel Orihuela

For a long time, there has been no talk about the San Diego Padres as a team leading the MLB´s big market. That is why many people did not take seriously the franchise´s intention of signing-up Eric Hosmer, one of the golden pieces of the free agents, that has been waiting for an important contract to come his way.

But, the general manager A.J. Preller finally made his move and said the magic words to convince Hosmer, who was clearly looking for a long term agreement (eight years) and an amount that would exceed the 140 million dollars, at least at the off-season’s final moments. It was said that his exigencies were about 160-170 million in the winter time. The truth is that the first baseman rejected his old team, the Kansas City Royals, and has now the responsibility to turn things for the San Diego team, which is looking for its first title.

Clearly, the Padres have not invested in Hosmer just to have him as a complementary player in its roster. Beyond being an important asset in the field they are hoping that the left-handed slugger will lead a selection that has been in the last positions for a long time. They have not won a title in the West Division of the National League since 2006 and they have not made it to the World Series since 1998. The fans have been waiting for a long time and now they are counting on Hosmer to change things.

In his first days training with the team, Hosmer has met the expectations, he has been involved in the dynamics of the manager Andy Green and has fitted perfectly with his new teammates, who he didn’t know before. His arrival should relieve Will Meyers, Rookie of the Year four seasons ago, from the stress of being leader of the team. Another player that will benefit from his arrival is the prospect Manuel Margot, who came to San Diego as part of the package deal that the Red Sox sent in exchange for the superstar closer Craig Kimbrel.

Hosmer, a twenty-eight-year-old player, arrives at the Padres at the best moment of his career. In the last campaign he hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers, so the Padres will be looking forward to get the best out of him in the first five years of the contract, in which he will be paid 105 million. The other 39 million will be to cover the last three seasons. Right after his fifth year in San Diego, Hosmer can walk out of the contract. These details offer some leverage to the club’s management, that can trade a player with a friendly salary in the last years of his contract, all of that, of course if they are not satisfied.