PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres spent the past two years doing their best to stay out of the limelight. In lieu of flashy moves, general manager A.J. Preller cultivated an elite farm system, building from within without making a major splash via trade or free agency.
Boy, did that change in a big way on Saturday night.
The Padres have agreed to an eight-year contract with first baseman Eric Hosmer. The deal reportedly is worth $144 million. It's the largest contract signed this offseason, and the largest in the history of the Padres.
Symbolically, it's a major shift for an organization that made no secret of its goal to tear down and start over following a disappointing 2015 campaign. The Hosmer deal seems to signify that the Padres believe they're turning corner away from their rebuild phase.
"If you add a player like that, you're obviously accelerating the process," said William Myers, who will shift from first base to the outfield with the addition of Hosmer. "Adding a player like that, not only for the fans, but for the players here [shows] how serious we are of going for it."
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Team officials wouldn't comment until the deal was finalized, but multiple sources made it clear that the club still viewed its future as top priority. There's almost no chance they sacrifice elite prospects for short-term improvements, one team source said, putting 2019 as the goal for contention.
That's the nature of the Hosmer contract: The Padres doled out a huge sum, but they didn't lose any young talent in doing so. The club will proceed with the same mindset, willing to add -- and potentially add salary -- so long as the future remains intact.
Meanwhile, the current players have turned their attention to the present. Monday marks the first full-squad workout in Peoria, and news of the Hosmer deal has boosted expectations.
"Going into the year, we were getting ready to show some people we can make a playoff push," said Padres catcher Austin Hedges. "Now we add him, and that's absolutely got to be the goal."
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In Hedges and Hosmer, the Padres have their catcher and first baseman of the future locked up through 2022. Outfielders Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe and Myers are also under team control for five more years. Prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias could soon anchor the middle of the infield.
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The biggest long-term question marks arise in the rotation. But the Padres boast five pitchers among the overall top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, including MacKenzie Gore, the No. 3 overall pick in last June's Draft. The front office feels the pieces for a contender are in place.
In theory, Hosmer should be familiar with the process. The same blueprint was used to perfection in Kansas City, where the Royals captured back-to-back American League pennants and the 2015 World Series.
"He's a guy that's been where we are right now, in a rebuild and growing from within," Hedges said. "He did that and turned that into a championship team. He's been there. He can show us the ropes a little bit."
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Padres right-hander Christopher Young, a member of that 2015 Royals squad, saw it firsthand.
"I think everybody saw that it happened quicker than expected," Young said. "All of a sudden you get a couple pieces, a couple additions, it changed the expectations from, 'We hope to win,' to, 'We expect to win.' Kansas City took off at that point ... and I think the same thing can be expected here.
"There's a lot of talent. It's a great group of guys that work hard, do things the right way. All of a sudden you get the right pieces, and the expectation goes to expecting to win, not hoping to win. I think that's the case here. And I think it'll happen sooner rather than later."