San Diego Padres

Report: San Diego makes splash, Padres add Hosmer on eight-year deal


Report: San Diego makes splash, Padres add Hosmer on eight-year deal

PEORIA, Ariz. — Just the thought of free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer joining the downtrodden, youthful San Diego Padres sent a morning jolt through the spring training clubhouse.

The on-field vibe seemed equally cheery, as country music blared as players went to work under sunny skies in the Arizona desert.

Hosmer reached a preliminary agreement on an eight-year contract with the Padres, pending a physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed the tentative deal, speaking on the condition of anonymity Sunday because there had been no formal announcement of Hosmer’s potential signing.

It would become official once he passes a physical early in the week. While the final position players reported Sunday — most were already in spring camp — ahead of Monday’s first full-squad workout, Hosmer wasn’t expected in the desert until at least Monday.

Hosmer, who spent his first seven major league seasons with Kansas City, would receive a reported $144 million.

Padres manager Andy Green could only discuss the acquisition of Hosmer in generalities since it isn’t final, but was hopeful of having his full team together Monday.

“I can’t replicate the magic of the first day twice, so, yeah, you want him or anyone to be there when you’re talking,” Green said. “... Not that there is any real magic on the first day, but it’s always nice to have your camp settled as early as possible.”

The 28-year-old Hosmer batted a career-high .318 in 2017 and matched his best from the previous season with 25 home runs. A four-time Gold Glover and All-Star in ’16, he drove in 94 runs and scored 98 for the Royals last season. He also had a career-best .385 on-base percentage.

Veteran right-hander Chris Young also came to the Padres this offseason after most recently pitching three seasons for the Royals, calling Hosmer “one of my all-time favorite teammates” who brings “a competitive fire” that will be much-welcomed.

He hadn’t been in touch with Hosmer in recent days but they did communicate earlier in the winter when Young chose San Diego and discussed that it was among Hosmer’s top choices, too. Young said he didn’t want to add any pressure to Hosmer making a decision.

“Hos is a legitimate All-Star,” Young said. “I think he brings a veteran experience, he’s a winner, he’s a champion and a great mentor for young guys. So I think he fits all the categories I think you’re looking in terms of a teammate, a leader, a competitor. I think he makes any clubhouse better, much less this one.”

While most every club feels a sense of optimism this time of year with a fresh slate as spring training begins, the Padres were especially upbeat as they got going early Sunday at the idea of the power-hitting Hosmer in their lineup and at first base.

San Diego went 71-91 last season for fourth in the NL West above only the San Francisco Giants, and the Padres haven’t been to the playoffs since losing in the 2006 NL Division Series.

Green knows what someone such as Hosmer could mean to a club’s chances of turning it around .

“It was always time to start contending for me,” said Green, beginning his third season as San Diego skipper. “It was always go out and win opening day and go out and win every game. I haven’t been very good at that, I have to acknowledge that. At this point in time, opening day has been cruel to me so far.

“But I think we show up with the expectation of winning the first game of the season and don’t waver from that no matter who’s in that clubhouse. Does it get easier if certain people are in that clubhouse? Yeah, it sure does.”

Wil Myers, who played 154 games at first for San Diego last season, was ready to move positions as needed. He can play elsewhere in the infield and all three outfield spots and Green said he would be “magically” taking fly balls in right field Sunday.

“Wil’s been great with everything that’s ever been asked of him,” Green said.

Myers said the Padres communicated with him during the offseason about the possibility of adding Hosmer, saying: “When I saw that possibility I was very excited. To be able to add a player like that I think is very cool.”

Myers played in 2010 with Hosmer in the minors with the Royals.

“I know nothing’s definite right now but just to be able to hopefully add a guy like that is pretty special,” Myers said.

“He’s a great guy. He’s going to be a guy that fits really well in this clubhouse. ... You’ve heard a lot of great things about him, what he does in the clubhouse and who he is as a person.”

Now that Philly gets its parade, San Diego deserves our kindest thoughts


Now that Philly gets its parade, San Diego deserves our kindest thoughts

We are running out of a lot of things in this country, and now that Philadelphia gets to book a parade route for the first time in a quarter-century, we are less one “long-suffering city” story line.

And we say “city” rather than “fan base” because everyone loves a parade – except the people caught in traffic. A parade takes over an entire city, not just a single fan base, so when Eagle fans line Broad Street, they’re not kicking off any Phillies, Flyers or Sixers fans. It’s a civic event, which we learned most recently when the Warriors jousted with the city of Oakland over their parade bills.

Thus, the new city most gripped by parade-o-phobia is a city full of sports fans that has plenty more to gripe about than just no championships. It’s San Diego.

Bordertown not only hasn’t had a championship in 55 years, the one team that got it for them just moved to Los Angeles with a revolting lurch, and the league in which they won that championship hasn’t existed for 49. In short, almost all the people with memories of that championship are called Grandma or Grandpa – and no, we will forgo the “isn’t everyone called that there?” joke.

Worse still, the city has only the Padres to make its floatmaking case for it, and as a single-franchise city with an open wound just 90 miles up the road, San Diego deserves our kindest thoughts – if we are still capable of such things.

The multi-franchise city with the longest parade drought is Cincinnati, which last filled the streets in 1990 with the Reds, followed by Minnesota (1991 Twins), Washington (1992 with the football team) and Atlanta (1995 Braves), and given what Washington has provided for us all, its next parade should probably be right after the meteor hits.

Here, we’ve been over-paraded with three in San Francisco and two more in Oakland in this decade, one more than Chicago (three Blackhawks, one Cubs), so smug is not the way to play this. Philadelphia’s parade will be a perfectly Philly hot mess, made all the better by the fact that it hasn’t happened there since . . . well, two years ago as it turns out, with Villanova.

But that's the thing about a parade. They actually happen more often than you think -- but not so frequently that they should be taken for granted.

Giants continue trend, show little life against lefty starter


Giants continue trend, show little life against lefty starter

SAN DIEGO — Travis Wood has a 5.70 ERA and 1.67 WHIP this season. His stuff is not close to overpowering and his command left him for long patches of Wednesday night’s game. He is probably a nice man, but the truth is that in today’s game, he is not the type you expect to do the heavy lifting in a shutout. 

Of course, the 2017 Giants are willing to throw all conventional wisdom out the window. 

They failed to cash in against Wood and once again got completely stymied by the Padres bullpen. A 5-0 loss was the second shutout in four days for the offense, and it was no coincidence that a lefty started both games. 

This roster has no chance against southpaws right now, especially with Buster Posey sidelined by a bone bruise in his left hand. Over a six-game trip, the Giants scored just 10 runs while losing five games. Nick Hundley’s two RBI on Friday were the only runs driven in by a right-handed batter the entire trip. 

“We’re not doing a lot,” manager Bruce Bochy said, the frustration showing on his face. 

Bochy had four right-handed bats in the first five spots against Wood, but they were hardly marquee names. Kelby Tomlinson, Gorkys Hernandez and Hundley primarily ride the bench for this team, which lost its 82nd game on Wednesday, officially guaranteeing a losing record. Hunter Pence, hitting cleanup, has had a down year. 

Pence was in the middle of a particularly frustrating stretch Wednesday. With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Pence struck out. Hundley bounced out to second to end the inning. The Giants went down quietly from there. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on the night and 3-for-33 on the road trip. 

“That’s what wins games for you,” Bochy said. “You get those hits or come through. (The Padres) did it. Driving in runs is what wins games for you … on this road trip the most runs we scored was, what, three?”

Yep. The Giants scored three runs twice in six games. The rest was even more of a disaster. 

In this loss, at least Bochy found one thing to be happy about. He thought Ty Blach threw well, and Blach — who added two hits at the plate — said he was happy with his pace and feel on the mound. 

“I felt crisp,” he said. 

The Giants are not worried that Blach might be wearing down, despite a rough August. Even so, he’ll get an extra day of rest before his next start. Johnny Cueto is likely to start Friday at AT&T Park, with the Giants temporarily going to a six-man rotation. 

Blach and Chris Stratton, part of that six-man group, are part of the future. As the Giants figure out the rest of their 2018 roster, they'll need to find some balance. They were too left-handed coming into the year, and many of the second-half lineup additions -- Ryder Jones, Jarrett Parker, Pablo Sandoval (switch-hitter but far better from the left side -- continue the trend. 

The Giants will try to fix that problem a bit in November. Here in August, it has led to some ugly results.