On paper, Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer had a trying 2018 in the first season of an eight-year, $144MM contract, though he did impress the team with his leadership, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune details. As for Hosmer’s production – he hit a below-average .253/.322/.398 in 677 plate appearances – the 28-year-old remarked: “I know I’m going to go back and be the player I know I can be. This isn’t the impression I wanted to make the first year, but there’s nothing I can say to make it any better. Just, I’ll be ready to go next year.” Hosmer added that not having to deal with the free-agent process this winter and knowing he’ll be a Padre for the long haul will help him “have a clear mind this offseason.” And the executive who signed Hosmer, general manager A.J. Preller, suggested that the ex-Royal may have been pressing in his first year of a big contract, adding: “We have a lot of faith we’re going to look up next year and it’s going to be an All-Star caliber season for him. Just because of the type of person he is. That’s what gave us the comfort in signing him and a lot of comfort going forward he’s going to be that guy.”
- Hosmer’s on-base percentage was just above the National League mean of .318, but the Padres as a whole struggled in that department, posting a league-worst .297 mark. The Padres have now recorded the majors’ lowest OBP five times in a row, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com notes, and that’s a trend they’d obviously like to break. “It starts with getting guys who’ve shown a history of being on base,” Preller said. “From a talent and personnel standpoint we’ll continue to look at changing the mix a little bit. … And then from a messaging standpoint we’ll continue to hammer it home every possible way for guys to understand: Getting on base is probably the most important thing in the game.”
- Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen spoke to the media Monday on the heels of an 82-80 season in which the club went 8-19 in September to fall out of contention. While the offseason’s only about a month from beginning in earnest, Hazen’s not sure yet which direction the club will go, as he suggested (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic) that it may take until November for a decision to come. It seems unlikely the club will go all in toward contention or launch a full rebuild, though, as Hazen told Zach Buchanan of The Athletic: “I think realistically it’s probably more narrow than that, than the spectrum you portrayed.”
- Although Ichiro Suzuki moved from the Mariners’ outfield to a front office role in May, the future Hall of Famer’s agent, John Boggs, insisted at the time he wasn’t retiring. That hasn’t changed, as Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said Monday (via Corey Brock of The Athletic) that the team will give Ichiro a chance to win a job on its 2019 Opening Day roster, if he’s healthy. Notably, the Mariners will begin their season in Ichiro’s homeland of Japan, where he thrived as a professional before immigrating to Seattle in 2001.
- More on the Mariners, who “hope” reliever Sam Tuivailala will return by next June, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. The M’s acquired Tuivailaila from the Cardinals in late July, only to see his season end a couple weeks later on account of a right Achilles injury. The 25-year-old Tuivailala pitched to a 3.41 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.92 BB/9 and a 49.2 percent groundball rate before undergoing surgery in August.