The Padres have been linked to Eric Hosmer on multiple occasions this offseason, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that the team met with Hosmer yesterday as the team continues an “aggressive” pursuit of the free agent first baseman.
It’s an odd fit at first glance, as the rebuilding Padres have Wil Myers at first base after moving him there from the outfield and signing him to an $83MM extension. However, Myers could be shifted back to an outfield corner (he reportedly has no qualms about doing so) in the event that the Friars ultimately strike a deal with Hosmer and agent Scott Boras.
That said, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the Padres pursuing a free agent of this magnitude when they’re not yet expected to contend in 2018. Hosmer is a relatively youthful free agent, having just turned 28 in October, but he’s still expected to command a nine-figure contract, which would not only represent a franchise record for the Padres but would also cost the rebuilding club its third-best pick in next year’s draft due to the fact that Hosmer rejected a $17.2MM qualifying offer from the Royals.
Hosmer is coming off a career year, having slashed .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers — including a ridiculous .336/.402/.532 slash in his final 592 plate appearances after a slow start to the year. Hosmer has had productive offensive stretches in the past, but the former No. 3 overall pick and vaunted top prospect has also yet to string together successive seasons at that level of play.