Chris Young powers Diamondbacks past Brewers and into Game 5

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Three of the four Divisional Series are going the distance, as the Diamondbacks topped the Brewers 10-6 on Wednesday night to create a decisive Game 5 on Friday.

Both starters lasted exactly three innings in this offensive showcase.  Randy Wolf was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fourth having given up seven runs, and Joe Saunders was hit for in the bottom of the fourth having allowed three.

Micah Owings, who pitched scoreless fourth and fifth innings, was credited with the victory.

Ryan Roberts and Chris Young led the way for Arizona’s offense.  Roberts hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first, and Young immediately followed with the first of his two homers on the night.  Aaron Hill also homered for Arizona, and Paul Goldschmidt, Tuesday’s hero, went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Milwaukee’s lone homer came off the bat of the much-maligned Carlos Gomez.  Gomez, who didn’t even have an at-bat in the first three games of the series, also singled in his start over Nyjer Morgan.

Yuniesky Betancourt went 3-for-4 for the Brewers.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder both had lone doubles in four at-bats.

After combining to score 38 runs the last three games, the Diamondbacks and Brewers will get their aces back on the mound Friday in Milwaukee. Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo are set for a rematch of the Game 1 that the Brewers claimed 4-1.

Notes

– If the Diamondbacks can come all of the way back, they’d be the first team since the 2003 Red Sox (vs. Oakland) to win a best-of-five after going down 0-2.

– The Diamondbacks are just the second team ever to hit grand slams in consecutive postseason games (Goldschmidt had one Wednesday). The 1977 Dodgers were the first.

– Young now has three homers in the series and five in 11 career postseason games. He has an extremely impressive .333/.458/.769 line in 39 at-bats overall in October.

– His two-homer game was the first in Arizona’s postseason history.

– Diamondbacks phenom Jarrod Parker struggled in his postseason debut. A somewhat surprising addition to the roster after just one regular-season appearance, he gave up one run and retired only one of the four hitters he faced in the sixth inning tonight.

– Arizona left fielder Gerardo Parra went hitless again, leaving him 0-for-15 with six strikeouts in the series. The Diamondbacks could make a change there in Game 5, perhaps going to Collin Cowgill in his place. Cowgill delivered a two-run single as a pinch-hitter tonight.

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.