2018 Fantasy Baseball: San Diego Padres Sign Eric Hosmer
The long tortured wait is over. At least’s it’s over for Eric Hosmer. Hosmer and his agent, Scott Boras, apparently won the Mexican standoff with the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals and got him his guaranteed eighth season. In this case, the Padres gave him 100 million over his first five seasons, an option for Hosmer to vacate the deal after that fifth season, and 39 million over the final three seasons. He also got a five million dollar signing bonus making the deal up to eight years and 144 million.
Why the Padres make this deal
It is clear that we are pretty much looking at a five year deal. So, the bet in San Diego is that they will be ready to compete by then. So, in this case Hosmer has a bit of an anchor on the rebuilding efforts. He gives the organization credibility so they can begin to attract other talented players when they are ready to take the next step. At least that’s the thought process behind it. Unfortunately, that thought process is ripe with some holes.
First of all, they already had a first baseman in Wil Myers. Myers will move to right field to make room for Hosmer, but Myers has never been able to remain healthy in the outfield. That was largely why he was moved to first base in the first place. This is one of the things Boras specializes in. He is able to find a market for his guys where one shouldn’t exist. He did it when he found Detroit for Prince Fielder and this seems to be one of those instances.
First base seems to be an odd position to stake your claim on respectability. It is usually one of the easier positions to fill. If you just look at this offseason alone you can see several first basemen that will sign for little or nothing before it is all said and done. I’m not exactly sure how much better Hosmer is than those guys. If we include Yonder Alonso of the Indians we could find four bargain free agents at the position and compare them according to projected true average (TAV) and projected value over replacement player (VORP) according to Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA.
- Eric Hosmer: .273 TAV, 21.2 VORP
- Yonder Alonso: .258 TAV, 6.3 VORP
- Lucas Duda: .271 TAV, 11.9 VORP
- Logan Morrison: .264 TAV, 11.5 VORP
- Adam Lind: .265 TAV, 9.0 VORP
Yes, Hosmer comes out in front of all of those guys, but that’s really not the point. The point is not that he is better than these four players, but by how much. Alonso is getting eight million a season for two years. I seriously doubt any of those other three will get more than that. Are they less than half the player Hosmer is overall? In fact, if we assume that the Royals sign someone like Morrison then we can look at what the two players did over the last three seasons and simply compare the two.
- Eric Hosmer: .294/68 HR/276 Runs/291 RBI/18 SB/184 Walks
- Logan Morrison: .237/69 HR/167 Runs/182 RBI/14 SB/165 Walks
Yes, those numbers look lopsided, but that is largely because Hosmer has been very durable. Durability certainly has its place and brings value when talking about a long-term deal, but if we look at the per plate appearance numbers like wOBA, wRAA, and wRC+ we can see that Hosmer’s advantage is not necessarily that great.
- Eric Hosmer, .352 wOBA, 19.2 wRAA, 120 wRC+
- Logan Morrison: .326 wOBA, 4.9 wRAA, 107 wRC+
So, this is a pretty good look at the real value added by Eric Hosmer since these numbers are per plate appearance and adjusted for home ballparks. Yes, I would rather have Hosmer than Morrison in a vacuum. All that being said, life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Morrison may cost between five and ten million dollars a season for a maximum of two seasons. He won’t cost 100 million over five seasons. So, while the Padres get someone that likely would finish in the upper third of first basemen in an absolute ranking, they paid top five money. If they were a first baseman away from getting a wild card that might seem like a decent investment. They aren’t.
What does this deal mean for you?
Hosmer has value in full season fantasy leagues because he is extremely durable. There is no reason why that shouldn’t continue. Unfortunately, this move won’t be good for his fantasy value. Petco actually comes to a multi-year park factor of 94 (100 is average). That surprised me as I expected to number to be much lower. However, that compares with a 102 average for Kaufman stadium. Moreover, that is only the beginning.
Up until last season, the Royals were playoff contenders for the past several seasons. Even with their struggles last season, they still had Mike Moustakas, Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez, and Lorenzo Cain playing every day in a solid lineup. The Padres have Myers and that is about it in terms of established and productive players. So, the combination is likely to suppress his overall value and make him a middle of the road fantasy first baseman at best.