Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Diego Padres and Eric Hosmer have had two face-to-face meetings in recent days and that, as a result, they are the “clear-cut favorites” to land the free agent first baseman.
This would be a pretty big splash for a team that has not, in recent years, made many big splashes on the free agent market, instead focusing on rebuilding from within. The Padres, however, are reported to view Hosmer as a “culture-changer,” who they believe can be the leader of a club they think is ready to turn the corner. If they did sign him, his deal would eclipse — maybe even come near doubling — the largest contract ever handed out by the Padres, which was the $83 million deal given to Wil Myers a year ago. Signing Hosmer would also force Myers off of first base and back to the outfield, which is something he has said recently he’d be willing to do to help the team.
Hosmer, 28, had a career year in 2017, hitting .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers. There have been suggestions that he’s still open to returning to the Royals, though they are about to embark on a rebuild. He has also reportedly had discussions with the Red Sox, who Nightengale says are “still lurking.”
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.