And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Twins 6: Curtis Granderson hit three bombs and went 5 for 5. If you just followed this game on Twitter, though, you’d think the storyline of the game was Phil Hughes stinking. The Yankees fans I follow are a surprisingly neurotic bunch despite following the most dominant team in American sports history. But to be fair, Hughes did kind of stink and he actually needed all three of those Granderson bombs. Just keeping the slot warm for Andy Pettitte I guess.

Dodgers 4, Brewers 3: Matt Kemp hit another homer. Ho-hum. Meanwhile, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, look at the play Jerry Hairston made.

Reds 6, Cardinals 3: Adam Wainwright still doesn’t have his mojo back. The Reds beat him up for four runs on seven hits in five innings. Which is saying something, because the Reds couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a damn boat before yesterday.

Orioles 5, White Sox 3: Jason Hammel struck out ten and Jim Johnson got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth. Orioles are still in first place, people. I think that’s in Revelations. That child running on the field is in there someplace too, I’m sure of it (“and then cometh the young, who shall leadeth the …” and something or other).

Marlins 5, Cubs 3: And the Feesh sweep the Cubs. The Marlins are now 3-0 when being managed by a repentant Fidel Castro sympathizer.

Astros 11, Nationals 4: Houston raps out 17 hits. Every starter including the pitcher hit, and the team hit three triples in the first inning, sorta killing all of that “K Street” love I taped for today’s HBT Extra. When that part of the video airs later just pretend that this game didn’t happen, OK?

Rangers 10, Tigers 3: Yu Darvish had his best outing so far, giving up one run on two hits in six and a third. Of course, because he walked five and struck out five, his pitch count was pretty nutsy by the time he was yanked. Michael Young continues his hot hitting. Nelson Cruz continues his Tiger-destroying.

Rays 9, Blues Jays 4: Evan Longoria: 3 for 4 with a homer a double and four RBI. Another error too — five on the year for the guy who says “I will make my glove golden” in those MLB promos — but we’ll let that slide for today.

Indians 2, Mariners 1: The Tribe gets both of its runs on a ninth inning RBI single from Jack Hannahan. They rally — and lack of Seattle run support — squandered a fabulous Felix Hernandez performance: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 12K.  As usual, King Felix just doesn’t know how to win.

Phillies 2, Padres 0: Another great west coast pitching performance, this once from Vance Worley (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 11K). Phillies scored their runs on a sac fly and a passed ball, however, so the offensive worries are still there.

Athletics 4, Angels 2: The Angels continue to struggle, dropping their third in a row to Oakland. The A’s only mustered three hits total and only two off C.J. Wilson but still scored four runs, partially due to a Wilson throwing error.

Braves 10, Diamondbacks 2: Freddie Freeman went 3 for 5, hit two homers and drove in five. Mike Minor struck out nine and allowed only one earned run. His stuff was pretty filthy last night too. I was so impressed with it that while watching the game I tweeted about it. I accidentally called his curve his “braking ball.” I think I actually like that better, so I’m sticking with it. Minor throws a braking ball. It was taught to him by the braking ball guru. In other news, I also got this screencap from the game, that I will show you without comment. Well, one comment: “fisted.”

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.