Following two face-to-face meetings, the Padres seem to be the clear-cut favorites to sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nightengale also notes that the Red Sox are still “lurking”.
The Padres have been frequently linked to Hosmer this offseason, but multiple face-to-face meetings could mean that talks have reached a more advanced stage. Indeed, Nightengale’s use of the phrase “clear-cut” seems to imply that teams have at least made someone detailed pitches by now, and that the Padres are far ahead of their competition.
Hosmer is coming fresh off a career year and is just 28 years of age. He hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers in 671 plate appearances. The durable Hosmer played in all 162 games and added a Gold Glove to his list of accomplishments for the 2017 season. Hosmer ranked third among free agents in terms of earning potential on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions piece.
The Royals free agent rejected a qualifying offer, so if the Padres were to sign him, they’d have to give up their third-highest pick in the 2018 draft (in the case of the Padres, who have a pick in Competitive Balance Round A, that’d be a second-round selection). Since Hosmer will almost certainly sign a deal for more than $50MM, the Royals would stand to gain a compensatory draft pick after the first round.