First baseman Wil Myers has been a bright spot for the struggling Padres, earning his first All-Star nod at 25 years of age. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that both he and the team are open to discussing a long-term deal.
Notably, no discussions have occurred as of yet, and both Myers and GM A.J. Preller say that there are no intentions to hold them during the present season. But it seems clear from their comments that both have genuine interest in exploring a long-term relationship.
Myers, who says he loves playing for the Padres. He also expressed positive sentiment toward Preller and manager Andy Green. “I do really, truly believe that A.J. Preller has a plan for the future,” said Myers, “and that’s a big deal when it comes to extension talks. … As far as being here long-term, I could see myself doing it. I could see trying to build something here.”
The former Rookie of the Year will qualify for arbitration for the first of three times in the coming winter, meaning he’ll start to get expensive. With three partial and uneven seasons under his belt coming into 2016, there was quite a bit of variability in his earning power. But Myers is carrying a .286/.351/.522 slash over 379 plate appearances, with a career-high 19 homers in the bank, ensuring that he’ll get a very nice raise.
That performance not only begins to set a price point for the sides to work from, but enhances San Diego’s desire to get a deal done while it has some leverage. “You always want to hear players that want to be in your franchise, that want to be in your city, and I think that’s exciting to hear,” Preller said. “He’s a big-time talent and, I think, is excited by this franchise, this place, and wants to be here. When we made the trade, that’s what we were looking for.”
Of course, as Preller notes, he’ll need to talk the matter through with club ownership before approaching Myers’s camp with any offers. But the success of Myers is a notable element in evaluating Preller’s own tenure with the team. After all, he gave up two significant pieces (Joe Ross and Trea Turner) to acquire him, and the results had been less than promising at the start of the 2016 campaign.
Having just dealt lefty Drew Pomeranz, San Diego is clearly not angling for near-term contention. But the organization has begun accumulating some near-MLB prospects, with a large haul of younger players behind them, and could conceivably begin building toward competitiveness before long. Myers is young enough that the Pads might commit to him in hopes that he’ll help boost performance and attendance in the near-term while remaining a core piece in the team’s next window of opportunity.