The San Diego Padres could be a surprise suitor in this winter's Eric Hosmer sweepstakes.

The Pads are internally discussing the idea of pursuing the coveted free-agent first baseman, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears the same, noting the team is preparing for a significant payroll hike in 2019.

Hosmer is expected to be one of the top targets on the open market this offseason -- ESPN's Keith Law ranked him seventh on his list of the Top 50 free agents. The 28-year-old is coming off a career year for the Kansas City Royals in which he slashed .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs. The Royals extended a qualifying offer Hosmer's way, so signing him will result in the forfeiting of a draft pick.