Eric Hosmer signs eight-year deal with Padres
The Padres — the Padres! — did a thing late Saturday night, inking Eric Hosmer to an eight-year contract worth a total of $144 million. There is an opt-out for Hosmer after the fifth year and the deal is front-loaded with the bulk of the money being paid out during said opt-out. We’ve talked a bunch about Hosmer this offseason as the Red Sox were reported to be interested in the former Royal until they signed Mitch Moreland. Hosmer is far from a perfect player, wildly inconsistent from year to year and generally overrated by certain sections of the baseball media. That being said, I don’t hate this deal at all for San Diego. Hosmer will only be 28 in 2018, so he will be taken through his age-32 season before the opt out. At that point, either he’ll be good and the team won’t pay for his older years or he’ll stay in San Diego and the $13 million a year he’s making at that point will be next to nothing if inflation continues at a similar rate. Furthermore, during this period in which they are paying the bulk of the money they are also paying essentially nothing for their young talent. Speaking of which, Hosmer has been known as a great clubhouse presence, and while you don’t give out contracts like this based solely on that idea, he is the type of player you want around as a team that’s just about to exit a rebuild and hope to contend in the next couple years. It’s not at all a guarantee that Hosmer will be an effective player over this contract and it would be silly to say that there’s no risk, but the more I think about this deal the more defendable it becomes.
As far as the Red Sox go, obviously the most important impact comes in how it impacts the J.D. Martinez market. It certainly doesn’t help Boston in that regard, but I’m not sure it has a huge effect. Perhaps this will make other teams feel emboldened to enter the market, but I’d be surprised by that.
The Rays made some trades
Before the Hosmer signing, the Rays were the story of the day as they are doing....well, they weren’t inactive. It started with Tampa Bay acquiring C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later then designating Corey Dickerson for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. This, uh, is weird. Dickerson was an All-Star last year, and while he isn’t as good as he showed in the first half of 2017, he’s a solid outfielder who I’m fairly confident saying is better than Cron, who is among the more boring and underwhelming players in baseball. There may be a trade in the works involving Dickerson which would make more sense, but if not this is just a straight salary dump.
Tampa Bay also made a deal with the Twins, sending Jake Odorizzi to Minnesota for infield prospect Jermaine Palacios. Odorizzi isn’t great, but he’s certainly a useful pitcher to have in your rotation. It’s really surprising that they were only getting the 21st ranked prospect in the Twins farm system, per MLB Pipeline. Those rankings aren’t gospel, but this really smells like another pure salary dump of a player who really doesn’t make all that much. With both of these moves, it’s pretty clear that the Rays are worrying more about cutting payroll than winning or even acquiring future talent, which is good for the Red Sox but bad for baseball.