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Myers looks to rebound from 'toughest year'

Barring free-agent signing, slugger set to man first base for Padres in 2018
January 8, 2018

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2018 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview San Diego's first basemen.• Around the Horn series:CatcherSAN DIEGO -- To say the least, 2017 was an eventful year for William Myers.In January, the slugging first

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2018 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview San Diego's first basemen.
Around the Horn series:Catcher
SAN DIEGO -- To say the least, 2017 was an eventful year for William Myers.
In January, the slugging first baseman signed a six-year contract worth $83 million, assuring he'd be in San Diego through at least the 2022 season. Then Myers opened the season with a red-hot April, which included the second cycle in franchise history.

Things went south from there, though. Myers slumped to a .214/.310/.378 slash line in May, and he never recovered. Despite a handful of impressive power surges, Myers mostly struggled during the season's second half.
He finished with a career-high 30 homers to go with 29 doubles and 20 steals, but his batting average dipped to .243. Myers himself called his 2017 campaign, "my toughest year yet," and he's determined to put it behind him.
"This is an offseason that I'm preparing more than I ever have to be able to come back and take that next step as a ballplayer," said Myers, who was extremely candid about his struggles throughout 2017.
"I haven't dealt with failure very well at the big league level."
Of course, even in Myers' so-called "toughest year," he had a very notable impact on the Padres' lineup, leading the team in homers and RBIs. But he's looking to better sustain the grind of a full big league season, and in that regard, he's adding 15 pounds of muscle to his frame, hoping to enter camp around 220.

Defensively, Myers took a step back at first base in 2017, a year after he contended for a National League Gold Glove Award. He's focused much of his offseason routine on bettering his footwork and reaction time.
Perhaps most importantly, Myers is aiming to combat the mental aspect of a grueling season. He's seeing a sports psychologist once a week this offseason with that goal in mind.
"We're building a foundation for my hitting philosophy," Myers said. "He's going to give me the tools to be able to take on the slumps I go through and come out better on the other side."
After Myers, the first base picture is unclear. Obviously, if the Padres find a way to land big-name free agent Eric Hosmer, things would change significantly. Myers has said he'd be willing to move to the outfield if Hosmer signs with San Diego.
But for now, Chase Headley is expected to serve as backup to Myers. It's conceivable the Padres look to add a versatile left-handed bat, as well.
Projected starter: Myers
Potential backups: Headley
Top-30 prospects: No. 10 Josh Naylor

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.