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.