“Saturday Night Special-Padres-Risk-vs-Reward”
Is this the beginning of the end af all the losing, or the beginning of a move that puts the rebuilding drive on a skid?
The Padres ownership has never been afraid to let General Manager AJ Preller make his player moves.
They let him take on a ton of contracts three years ago, Matt Kemp, James Shields, Justin Upton, Melvin Upton in all those trades..
Heavy money deals that nearly sank the franchise into Mission Bay.
They bought into his idea to rid the team of some substandard production, and pay people to take this same contracts he had acquired, Kemp, Shields, Upton and more.
They let him go wild in the International and Draft venus, signing a combined total of 91-players, spending 101M dollars over a two summer span, to rebuild the farm system, paying all that tax money to get these kids..
And they agreed to a massive 8-year-144M contract, with 5-years of no trade clauses, and an opt out after the 5th yearn outbidding the Royals for their All Star first baseman Eric Hosmer.
They get production, they get a Gold Glove, they get a clubhouse leader who also speaks Spanish, they get a guy committed to the team and who has committed to the cities he has lived in.
In Kansas City they are grieving the loss of a cornerstone player and person. But he leaves to some criticism, that it was too much money, 21M a year for the first five years, for a guy who has had good seasons then off seasons.
Homer comes to San Diego and makes the everyday lineup and the hitters around him much better.
Put Hosmer in the middle of a lineup, next to Chase Headley, Will Myers, Manny Margot, the developing Hunter Renfroe, Carlos Asuaje, Freddy Galvis, and the Padres suddenly have a bunch of guys who have proven they can hit and help a team over a 162-game schedule.
The quotes from those complimenting him in Kansas City are numerous:
..Exemplary teammate-embraced his city.
..He was a big stage-big movement player.
..Every player should do what Hosmer did for his team-his city.
..Good player-good clubhouse guy-we have good culture.
But there have been negatives too:
..Check his WAR stats over his career
..Good season-bad season-Good season-bad season
..Ground ball hitting 1st baseman
..Every other year type of guy
..Most inexplicable move of offseason.
..Overpaid-grossly overpaid for inconsistent career.
Three years ago this week, so much excitement when the Padres opened their camp with those newcomers, who didn’t work out, didn’t have good attitudes, and left a mess behind.,
This is a bold move as Hosmer comes to the Padres camp from up the road in Surprise, Arizona.
The franchise has pushed its payroll to about 90M with this deal, and they are spent out. His arrival does not guarantee they’ll be more than a .500-team, because their pitching is so weak.
And understand, because they overspent so much with their International budget, they will be very limited, almost non existent for the next three years, bidding on whatever the next germination of Cubans and Dominicans become available, limited to what bonus money they can pay..
This team will be fun to watch at bat, fun to watch run the bases, and will work hard. That is the chemistry of what is on the roster.
But sometimes if you think deeply, you remember the wild amount of money the Angels gave Moe Vaughn, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, or the Red Sox investment in Carl Crawford. There is a fear factor to be considered. There is history of what happened with long term contract to players at their peak of their careers, who break down, or don’t produce after their arrival.
They better hope everyone of theses young arms they have paid for, pan out, get here soon, and get here healthy. Otherwise what they spent on Hosmer will go to waste, and they won’t have money left in the checking account to guy buy more players, if these kids don’t work out.
But for the first time in a long time, they convinced a marquee free agent to accept their offer, and come to San Diego. They couldn’t with Shohei Ohtani, Yasiel Puig, Masahario Tanaka and a whole bunch others.
On paper, these guys have had special seasons. But there has also been a streak of inconsistency, not just with Hosmer, but Headley and Renfroe. That’s 45M worth of this year’s payroll you hope has a hot season, not a down season.
This is either the beginning of the end of all the Padres losing for a decade, or this is the beginning of the skid if Hosmer can’t be a superstar, and the young talent doesn’t pan out.
Ownership has believed in AJ Preller. We’ll see next if Premolar’s beliefs pan out.