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Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Padres Need a First Base Upgrade

In other words, starting Hosmer nearly cancels out the positive effect of being able to start Manny Machado every night. Wil Myers is a problem as well, but first base is currently the team’s biggest issue and one that is projected to persist for the rest of the year.

ZiPS was never optimistic about Hosmer, but at the start of his San Diego tenure, it projected him to be a two-win player for the first half of the deal. Instead, thanks to Hosmer’s 2021, he’s once again back down to replacement level. With the chances that 2020 reflected a meaningful comeback fading, so too have his projections for the rest of the contract:

If the projections hold true, Hosmer would be smart to not exercise his opt-out clause after the 2022 season, leaving a final eight-year total of -0.1 WAR for $144 million. I actually had to tell ZiPS to assume that Hosmer wouldn’t be benched; the model for predicting playing time in a player’s final years was determined to stop playing him after 2022.

Ignoring the long-term first base problems, simply getting an extra win would be a real boost in a tight pennant race. Coincidentally, that’s about what adding Trey Mancini from the Orioles would give to the Padres, bringing a bit of real-world applicability to a theoretical solution.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 01:27 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: eric hosmer, padres

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: June 19, 2021 at 07:22 PM (#6025194)
One question with Hosmer was the quality of his defense. Baseball insiders seemed to think he was quite good and he won 4 GG. DRS though he was a bit below-average. Well, not that it's definitive, but for the years where we have statcast outs above average (back to 2016), he was terrible from 2016-19 at -29 outs which is probably aboue 23-24 runs. That's even a good bit worse than DRS rated him. Of course these defensive stats never seem to completely agree with one another -- DRS has him at -2 this year while statcast puts him +2 ... which is not great but would be enough to nudge him above replacement at least. In 2020, they disagreed by 5 runs in the other direction.

Maybe he mentions it in the article but another way to solve the Hosmer issue is to get a corner OF and move Myers back to 1B which he played just fine earlier in his career. Myers isn't great either but likely a step up from Hosmer.

Best would probably be a Hosmer/Myers platoon, which, checking his stats, is long overdue for Hosmer anyway. He's got a career 665 OPS vs LHP with a sub-300 OBP. He's got no business starting against LHP. He hits RHP just fine (having a terrible year this year but he had a great "year" last year so that averages out). Running a 1B platoon is about the least roster-efficient thing you could do but here we are. In that case you have the relatively easy option of finding a lefty-masher at a corner and just keep Myers in full-time, swapping 1B/OF as necessary.
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 20, 2021 at 05:25 PM (#6025375)
Clearly they should have given the Angels a non-prospect or $50,000 beyond the league minimum to get Pujols.

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