The Eric Hosmer sweepstakes has ended, with the Padres inking him to a front-loaded eight-year contract worth $144 million that includes an opt-out after five years. How did the baseball world react?
According to Rustin Dodd, the Royals made a very competitive offer.
In the final stages of the offseason, the Royals were believed to have been willing to offer a deal in the neighborhood of $140 million. The length of the proposed contract — in addition to the final numbers — were unknown on Sunday morning.
Yet at least two factors in the Padres’ contract offer may have swung the pendulum in their favor. First, San Diego offered an opt-out after five seasons, allowing Hosmer to potentially become a free agent again at age 33. In addition, they heavily front-loaded the deal, guaranteeing Hosmer a reported $105 million in those first five seasons.
One of Hosmer’s close friends, Deven Marrero, talked a bit about how Hosmer handled free agency.
“There was nothing in him that was worrying him or anything like that. He knew he was going to get what he was going to get. I’m sure he’s happy making a decision, that’s why he waited so long. He’s not the type of person. He’s not the type who freaks out, who panics and stuff like that. He was cool as a cucumber. He handled it perfectly. He got bullied there a little bit at the beginning, but that didn’t faze him. He knew his worth and got what he deserved.”
Sam Mellinger writes that we should be praising Hosmer for what he meant to this city.
Hosmer had something like the perfect Royals career. We can nitpick. Goodness, sports fans can always nitpick. He hit too many grounders and not enough homers. His defensive range doesn’t match his athleticism, and for Royals fans of a certain age his career may bring to mind Bret Saberhagen — excellent in odd-numbered years, not as much in even.
The hardest thing to do in modern times is to step back, to see the forest and not just the trees. That’s particularly true in sports, and especially so at this instant — as an athlete who came to mean so much to Kansas City turns down an enormous contract here to sign somewhere else ... and there’s a compelling case that the Royals will be better for it.
There’s plenty of time for that debate, but having it now feels a little soulless, a little like turning sports into classwork instead of recess when the whole point of the Royals’ last decade has been a core led most consistently by Hosmer turning baseball here into the greatest sports story and funnest ride we’ve had in decades.
Bradford Doolittle at ESPN thinks the deal just may work for the Padres.
Are intangibles worth at least $105 million, or possibly $144 million? Of course not. But there are plenty of reasons to believe -- call it hope -- that this deal will work out for the Padres, as the likes of Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. and Cal Quantrill and MacKenzie Gore make their way to Petco Park over the next few years. They will join a clubhouse in which Hosmer sets the tone, and as a former champion, he’ll command the respect that such veterans always do in big league clubhouses. Maybe you don’t value that; the Royals clearly did, and the Padres clearly do.
Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs doesn’t get this deal for the Padres, unless they think they’re pretty close to contending.
We should get back to the nature of this match. It was strange that Hosmer wound up having to pick between the Padres and the Royals to begin with. Neither team is competitive, and good free agents tend to sign with better teams. And given the choice, it would’ve been easy to see Hosmer sticking with what he knows. He’s always been with Kansas City. He’s won with Kansas City. The people there love him. He could be a franchise icon, the rare one-team player. I don’t know Eric Hosmer, so I don’t know why he picked the Padres, but maybe he just wanted a change. He’s already been a leader through one rebuild; maybe he simply thinks the Padres are closer to emerging from theirs. The Royals might be down for a while yet. Hosmer might see the Padres on the rise.
Keith Law at ESPN (INSIDER) thinks the Padres overpaid.
Travis Sawchick thinks Scott Boras landed his deal by appealing to ownership rather than the front office.
Maybe this is nothing too out of the ordinary. Owners, of course, are ultimately the decision-makers. On the other hand, maybe Boras — the vast majority of his free-agent clients unsigned — now feels compelled to make an appeal directly to ownership, calling an end-around against the San Diego front office. After all, we know Dave Cameron is leading the analytics charge in San Diego, and he designated Hosmer as his No. 1 free-agent landmine of the winter. Very few analytically minded people would sign off on a seven-year deal for Hosmer.
If Eric Hosmer is willing/able to improve his launch angle, there's considerable upside in deal ... but that's a big unknown for eight-year commitment— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) February 18, 2018
David Pinto at Baseball Musings thinks this signing puts an end to collusion rumors.
It also pretty much blows the collusion argument out of the water. I doubt the Padres would have paid this much if there wasn’t competition for the player, or if they didn’t think he was a key piece to winning.
Ned Yost said that Hosmer hadn’t made any contact with him.
Ned Yost said he texted Hoz numerous times this off-season but never heard back from him: "I’m not sure whose orders that was." Ned then joked, "Even when I was on my death bed.”— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) February 18, 2018
Hosmer’s former teammates were happy for him.
Butera "If you were feeling down, you went to (Hoz). If u got new shoes, he was the first guy u went to go show. He always made u feel special. Whether you were a 12-yr veteran superstar or had one day in the show. He was the guy you went to & he always built u up & led the team"— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) February 18, 2018
Duffy on Hosmer "He's one of the best human beings I've ever met. One of my best friends of all-time. I told him yesterday, 'my happiness for you trumps the bummer that I'm feeling.' It's just a part of the game." #Royals— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) February 18, 2018
Duffy on Hoz, “I’m going to root for him no matter what, to my grave, bro. He’s one of the best I’ve ever met.” #RaisedRoyal— Len Jennings (@lenjenningsKMBC) February 18, 2018
Where do the Royals go from here?
Ned Yost said Royals have not decided yet whether they will look outside or go with internal solution at first base.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) February 18, 2018
Royals had targeted Hosmer but likely didn’t have the money for both him and moustakas. Moose still on board, remains option for kc now.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 18, 2018
The Royals tried to re-sign Eric Hosmer, and it didn’t work out. There has been no indication to date they are interested in re-signing Moustakas.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 18, 2018
I’m not sure any course of action with the #Royals would surprise me much now. They could go out and sign Morrison, Moose and a CF and I wouldn’t blink. Or they could heavily shop Duffy and Merrifield again and I wouldn’t blink. Pretty up in the air right now.— David Lesky (@DBLesky) February 18, 2018
Hosmer by the numbers:
I'm working on an article on something else, so have some Hosmer SD ZiPS projections. pic.twitter.com/gVl9zvODYG— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) February 18, 2018
In all, ZiPS values Hosmer as worth $81.5 million for the initial five years and $10.2 million for the final three years. The opt-out is an additional, serious complication.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) February 18, 2018
Hosmer OPS vs MLB average 1B OPS:— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) February 18, 2018
2011: .799 vs .778 (+.021)
2012: .663 vs .767 (-.104)
2013: .801 vs .762 (+.039)
2014: .716 vs .745 (-.029)
2015: .822 vs .780 (+.042)
2016: .761 vs .781 (-.020)
2017: .882 vs .815 (+.067)
Fans and media reflected on the Hosmer era and wished him well.
Covering Eric Hosmer reminded me of covering George Brett. Both were always available to the media, pre-game, post-game, win, lose, good day, bad day, the face of the franchise. True pro's.— frank boal (@realfrankboal) February 18, 2018
Great memories with Hosmer. He was an amazing teammate, player, and locker room presence. He always stood up and spoke for the team and I wish luck at his next stop pic.twitter.com/QqTSKgzWv9— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) February 18, 2018
We're so thankful for the incredible memories that @TheRealHos35 gave Noah and his warrior friends in Kansas City. The impact he's made on the world of pediatric cancer is only beginning, and we wish him every ounce of success in San Diego!! pic.twitter.com/UyQJQEMIWE— Noah's Bandage Proj (@NBP_Bandages) February 18, 2018
Best of luck, Hos.