Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers have been regulars in trade rumors for months, and that status hasn’t changed now that the lockout is over. The Padres have been “aggressively shopping” both players in trade talks, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, in an effort to clear some salary and roster space, plus create some more flexibility under the competitive balance tax.
Even with the tax threshold rising to $230MM this season, the Padres are already projected for a luxury tax number just shy of $218MM (as per Roster Resource). Since the Padres did exceed the CBT last season, they’d have to pay the larger “two-timer” penalty for crossing the threshold in consecutive years, so all things considered, the club would surely prefer to avoid a second tax overage if at all possible.
Getting either Hosmer or Myers off the books would help greatly in this regard. Since a player’s tax number is determined by the average annual value over the life of his contract, Hosmer’s tax number is $18MM per season and Myers is $13.83MM, though both players are set to earn more in actual dollars. Myers is owed $20MM in 2022 and there is a $20MM club option on his services for 2023 with a $1MM buyout, while Hosmer is owed a total of $59MM over the 2022-25 seasons.
These pricey contracts also don’t hold a ton of appeal to other teams, which is why San Diego has explored any number of scenarios to try and swing a deal. The Padres have looked to try and attach a prospect (Luis Campusano and Robert Hassell were mentioned) to Hosmer in talks with the Rangers and Cubs last summer, as some kind of sweetener is likely necessary to move the first baseman. Beyond the $59MM, Hosmer has also posted essentially replacement-level production (0.6 fWAR) since the start of the 2018 season. Myers has been similarly inconsistent over that same timeframe but his 5.5 fWAR has clearly marked him as the more productive of the two. If Myers may be the easier trade candidate, however, the Padres’ needs in the outfield would only be increased if Myers was suddenly no longer around.
This isn’t to say that San Diego isn’t already eyeing replacements. As Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune puts it via Twitter, the Padres’ “Plan A” would seem to be a scenario where the club signs Seiya Suzuki and Nelson Cruz, while moving one of Hosmer or Myers. Several other teams have been linked to both Suzuki and Cruz, though in Cruz’s case, recent reports have indicated the Padres could be a finalist for the veteran slugger. Even with one of Hosmer or Myers dealt, plans to add two prominent free agent bats could seem to indicate that the Friars are willing to spend at least in the range of that $230MM tax threshold.
In other team news, first base/outfield prospect Daniel Montesino will miss the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery, Jeff Sanders of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Montesino signed for a $1MM bonus during the 2020-21 international signing period, and posted a big .934 OPS over 243 plate appearances for the Padres’ Dominican Summer League squad last year. MLB Pipeline (24th) and Baseball America (29th) each listed Montesino within their rankings of San Diego’s top 30 prospects.