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Report: Padres ‘clear-cut favorites’ for Eric Hosmer

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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.”

 

Dodgers acquire Manny Machado from Orioles for five minor leaguers

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The Orioles and Dodgers finally completed the trade involving Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.

MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and No. 84 across baseball. Kremer was No. 27 in the Dodgers’ system and Bannon was No. 28.

Diaz, 21, is considered the centerpiece of the trade. The outfielder hit .314/.428/.477 with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 264 plate appearances at Double-A Tulsa this season.

Kremer, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He spent most of his season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Tulsa earlier this month. Overall, in 17 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.03 ERA with a 125/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Pop, 21, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. He has spent his season between Rancho Cucamonga and Single-A Great Lakes. Overall, he compiled a 1.04 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings of relief.

Bannon, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 draft. With Rancho Cucamonga this season, the infielder batted .296/.402/.559 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI in 403 PA.

Valera, 26, has appeared in 20 games at the major league level for the Dodgers this season, batting a meager .172 with a .445 OPS in 34 PA. Valera has versatility, having played second base, third base, and corner outfield this year while also having experience in center field, shortstop, and first base.