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Report: Padres sign Eric Hosmer to eight-year, $144 million deal

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Eric Hosmer‘s patience has paid off. The free agent first baseman reportedly netted an eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres late Saturday night, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. According to additional reports by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, the contract was front-loaded at the behest of Hosmer’s agent, Scott Boras, and is structured to pay out a $5 million bonus, $20 million per year from 2018-2022, and $13 million per year from 2023-2025. It’s said to be the biggest contract in franchise history, though the team is unlikely to confirm the deal until Hosmer clears his physical on Monday.

Hosmer has a high bar to clear this season after putting up career-best numbers across the board in 2017. The 28-year-old infielder made all 162 starts with the Royals last year, batting a cool .285/.498/.882 with 25 home runs and 4.1 fWAR in 671 plate appearances and crowning his accomplishments with his fourth Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger. It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for the veteran first baseman, however; he’s just one season removed from an underwhelming .266-average, -0.1-fWAR season with the Royals, and hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency at the plate or on the field from year to year.

That hasn’t fazed the Padres yet, though, and they’ll need to do some serious reshuffling to fit Hosmer at first base this spring. Wil Myers, who was tagged for the position earlier in the offseason, is expected to shift over to a corner outfield spot while Jose Pirela and Hunter Renfroe compete for the other corner. Alex Dickerson, Matt Szczur and Cory Spangenberg figure to be in the mix as well. If nothing else, Hosmer should provide a significant boost for the Padres’ lineup, which finished last among all major league teams with a cumulative .234/.299/.393 batting line, .287 BABIP and 7.3 fWAR in 2017.

 

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.