My first impression of the Eric Hosmer deal was meh. I’m admittedly not a fan of him as a player. He has been an inconsistent contributor to the Royals over the last seven years. 9.9 fWAR over 7 full seasons is just okay. However, putting up 4.1 fWAR in one season (2017) is really good. So who is Hosmer? Is he the zero fWAR player of 2014, or 3.5 fWAR player of the World Champion 2015 team? The weird thing is he isn’t the average of the two. His entire career has been boom or bust, Replacement Player or Good Player. And he alternates seasons too. Next year if he plays above replacement player it will be the first even year of his entire career to do so. And with his defense being a bit sub-par, he is really going to have to hit next year at Petco and the NL West to break the streak.
So why am I just meh instead of against it? Well first, the Padres paid a decent price for him. 5 years at $105MM is a pretty fair contract for a 28 year old hitting free agency. And then 3 years $39MM is great. I’m not too thrilled about the Padres front office touting his leadership skills as it looks like they bought what Hosmer’s agent Scott Boras was selling. Prestige Value (PV) is a difficult metric to quantify. That’s because it’s made up. There is no such thing as PV. Clubhouses have leaders, sure. But if you go 0-4 with 3 weak ground-outs to 2B and a K, no one wants to hear your shit anyway. Besides, most leaders of a young group tend to be a home grown guy. Someone who has risen up the ranks and earned it. Someone who knew everyone back when they were lava. Knew them when they were just a twinkle in the volcano’s eye. Sure, Eric can lead the guys like Wil Myers. Or maybe just Wil Myers. Wait, did the Padres just spend $144MM just so Wil Myers is happy?
Another reason I’m fine with this is because the Padres added another player with the ability to put up good numbers. And they need this. Every World Series champion over the last forever has had guys put up good seasons, combined with guys who put up great seasons. That Kansas City team of 2015 had Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Wade Davis, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Hosmer have solid seasons. And they also had Lorenzo Cain have a fantastic season. The 2016 Cubs had extremely productive years from Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo, supported by solid years from Ben Zobrist, Addison Russel, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and even Wilson Contreras. And recently the ’17 Astros supported the huge seasons from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa with a big season from George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman, Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers. Then they added Justin Verlander to all that talent.
So what I mean is it takes a ton of talent to win the whole thing. The Padres added talent. Hopefully this guy stops with the Jekyll and Hyde seasons and is just rock solid. In turn Wil Myers can move to the outfield and progress from last year and also be a big contributor. The huge seasons will have to come from the young guys. Whether they are playing up the middle or pitching, someone or two has got to step up big and throw up a 6+ WAR season. It probably won’t be Eric Hosmer. And that is just fine.
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