The Padres have offered Eric Hosmer less than $140 million, according to beat writer Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, and as of now do not seem intent on increasing that offer. The Royals have a seven-year, $147 million offer on the table to Hosmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The Padres have seemed to be the most interested suitor for Hosmer up to this point, with “buzz” that they were willing to make a six-year, $120 million offer during the Winter Meetings back in December, according to ESPN’s Ken Rosenthal. But in more recent weeks, Rosenthal has reported an internal split in the San Diego front office on whether signing Hosmer would be the right course for the franchise that has suffered seven consecutive losing seasons, although Lin’s sources dispute that report.
The market has been pretty slow going for many big free agents this winter, with nine of the top ten free agents on MLB Trade Rumors’ list still unsigned. The Boston Red Sox were thought to be the most likely landing spot for Hosmer, but they re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal earlier this off-season. Only the Padres and Royals have been reported to have the most significant interest in Hosmer, although there could be a few teams out lurking if the price drops, such as the Cardinals, Rockies, and perhaps even the Yankees.
If Nightengale’s report is true, one has to wonder what Scott Boras is waiting for at this point. A seven-year, $147 million offer is more than fair for a player of Hosmer’s caliber, and it would allow him to return to the clubhouse where he is likely most comfortable. There are reports that Hosmer wants to play for a winner, so perhaps the potential rebuild could cause concerns, but with few contenders needing first basemen, Hosmer may have to take his chances.
There is the possibility that this report was leaked by Boras specifically to get San Diego to up their offer - or even to move some of those lurkers like the Cardinals to be more aggressive in their pursuit. Reading between the lines, you can almost see the exchange being handled through the press - Nightengale’s report tells the Padres “give us your last best offer”, while Lin’s report says “that is our high offer, take it or leave it.”
But the trade rumor season is always full of smokescreens and false reports, so buyer beware. It does seem clear that there is more buzz on Hosmer this week, which is a good indication that he could be close to signing and we can have a resolution to all this drama.