Across Five Springs: Opening Day First Baseman
AJ Preller took the helm of the Padres
in late 2014 while the club was coming off a less than inspiring season. Known
for his scouting prowess and nearly ludicrous work ethic, Preller had been the
force behind a strong Texas international signing program. The hope was that he
would be able to turn a well-regarded farm system into a playoff contender.
This is a series looking at the past five seasons Opening Day rosters.
2015 Opening Day First Baseman: Yonder Alonso
Yonder Alonso certainly brings back some painful memories for the longsuffering Padres fan. He was initially acquired in the deal that sent then ace Mat Latos to Cincinnati in exchange for Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger, and the aforementioned Alonso. Yonder Alonso was favored by the Padres’ brass over Anthony Rizzo which resulted in the eventual swap for Andrew Cashner. Alonso was a member of the Padres from 2012-2015. The 2015 campaign was in line with his production during the rest of his time with the squad. He only managed to put up 1.0 fWAR limited by poor defense and limited power. Alonso was traded to the A’s along with Mark Rzepczynski during the 2015-2016 offseason in exchange for Drew Pomeranz, Jose Torres, and a PTBNL (Jabari Blash).
2016-2017 Opening Day First Baseman: Wil Myers
Wil Myers and his struggles have been written about and talked about ad nauseam but he was a big part of the 2015 offseason. On the bright side the throw in prospects from the deal that brought in Myers, Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes, have made their major league debuts and look to be weapons out of the bullpen. Myers was the Padre’s All Star representative in 2016 at Petco Park and participated in the Homerun Derby. He has three years left on the extension deal (6 years/$83 million) he signed before the 2017 season.
2018-2019 Opening Day First Baseman: Eric Hosmer
After signing the largest free agent contract up to this point in club history, the Eric Hosmer signing may be the most bemoaned of all AJ Preller’s acquisitions. Hosmer has provided far below the production level of his contract. As a first baseman the offensive bar is set high and between the disappointing seasons at the plate and poor play in the field Eric Hosmer has been more of an impediment than an asset up to this point. On the positive side Hosmer has provided a bizarrely strong .328/.385/.539 with a .924 OPS RISP in 2019. He had a bounceback in groundball % (back down to 56% from 60.4%) and hard hit % (a career high 40.1%). With 6 years left on his deal albeit with an opt out after the 2022 season, Hosmer will have to have some career years to be a net positive to the club. Josh Naylor and even the unheralded Ty France are projecting to put up more WAR if given the same number of ABs. Limiting Hosmer against lefties in a time split with Wil Myers may be the best (although expensive) path forward for the burgeoning team.
TKF contributor Chris Yumen. Follow on Twitter @CySouthbay