The Padres might not be done adding after acquiring All-Star Adam Frazier from the Pirates on Sunday, but it could require some creativity to avoid exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax threshold. One possibility the team is discussing? Trading first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to a report from MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required).
Hosmer still has four-plus years remaining on the eight-year, $144 million deal he signed with the Padres after the 2017 season. At the time, the contract was the largest in franchise history.
According to The Athletic’s report, the Padres are on pace to exceed the $210 million CBT threshold, which would put San Diego into tax-paying territory for the first time.
If Hosmer is dealt, the Padres could shift All-Star Jake Cronenworth to a full-time role at first base. Cronenworth primarily has played second base in his two big league seasons, but San Diego has the newly acquired Frazier to cover that spot.
As The Athletic points out, the Padres would likely need to include significant prospect value and pay down some of Hosmer’s remaining salary to move him. The 31-year-old has a .710 OPS this season and a .735 OPS over 447 games since he joined the Friars.
The team also would need to consider how trading Hosmer might affect the clubhouse. The first baseman, whose contract includes limited no-trade protection this season, has had an especially positive influence on San Diego's young players, team officials told The Athletic.
It may be a long shot, but as we’ve seen time and time again during general manager A.J. Preller’s tenure, anything is possible with the Padres on the trade market.