And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 12, Blue Jays 0: David Price was dominant, punching out 14 Blue Jays. Not literally. If he actually punched them out he would probably have been arrested.

Rangers 9, Angels 5: Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus combined to go 6 for 9 with five driven in. Jered Weaver hung tough for a while on short rest, but really didn’t have it. Not sure about that whole short rest thing on a 100+ degree day, but I guess decisions like that are why they pay Mike Scioscia the big bucks. The Rangers take two of three to retain a three-game lead over the Angles. They meet again in the final series of the season.

Orioles 2, Yankees 0, Yankees 8, Orioles 3: I don’t believe the Yankees actually contested this double header given that the Orioles organization is still dealing with Mike Flanagan’s death.

Reds 5, Nationals 4: Your standard 14-inning, won by a walkoff-by-Joey-Votto affair. Both managers were ejected. So too was Nationals’ bench coach and by then acting manager Pat Corrales. Why yes, it was Joe West’s crew umpiring. Why do you ask? Nineteen strikeouts for Reds pitchers.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: There’s no place like home: Zack Greinke goes to 10-0 at Miller Park. The Brew Crew sweep the Cubs.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 4: Kyle Lohse wins his 100th career game. If you put a gun to my head I never would have guessed that he had that many wins. Some guys just fly under the radar I suppose.

Twins 11, Tigers 4: For the past couple of days I’ve noticed people tweeting that the bottom third of the Twins’ lineup was laughable. Luke Hughes was in that bottom third yesterday and drove in five. On Saturday he drove in three.

Royals 2, Indians 1: Bruce Chen just knows how to win. OK, that’s not fair. Usually I use that as a backhanded compliment for mediocre guys who luck into wins. True, Chen is mediocre and has won five straight, but this one was legit. Chen allowed one run on five hits in seven and a third, salvaging one game of the series for the Royals.

White Sox 9, Mariners 3: The sweep. And now the Sox are in second place. It’s a distant second place in a crap division, but hey, second place.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1: Aaron Hill was 3 for 5 with three RBI and Ian Kennedy got his 17th win. Guys the Diamondbacks trade for are the new inefficiency.

Astros 4, Giants 3:  Matt Downs had the go-ahead RBI single in the 11th. The Giants are now four back of Arizona and have looked pretty crappy getting there.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 6: Four RBI for Kevin Kouzmanoff give the Dodgers their first loss in a week.

Athletics vs. Red Sox, Phillies vs. Marlins, Braves vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Irene-pocalypse.

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.