Hello, Padres fans. I hope the offseason finds you well. It has been an odd winter, lacking the level of activity baseball-watchers crave before pitchers and catchers report. In this mailbag, we won’t bore you with much Eric Hosmer talk. (The stalemate between agent Scott Boras and the Padres/Royals figures to continue until someone ups their offer.) The latest, shiny attraction is not a free agent. Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich reportedly wants out, and the Padres have plenty of prospects. Let’s get a bit more specific. You can submit future mailbag questions on Twitter or via email. “Fallback” may not be the most fitting descriptor — if Hosmer signs elsewhere, the Padres will not view a different notable acquisition as a necessity — but the question is worth pondering. The team’s owners would love to contend for the playoffs in 2019, though they realize 2020 is more realistic. Regardless of the exact target, the Padres will need some help from outside the organization. Splurging on the open market is generally unwise for a small-market franchise, but at the right price, Hosmer could be an exception. The 28-year-old is young for a free agent, and the Padres have not faced a lot of competition in the bidding process. They might not get a similar shot with next winter’s crop, which will be populated by older and, in many cases, more widely coveted players. Not signing Hosmer would shift more attention to the trade market, where Yelich is an obvious candidate. The Marlins have shipped away three of his friends, leaving the 26-year-old disgruntled and seeking his own exit. Agent Joe Longo recently told ESPN.com that his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken” and “attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides.” An outfield featuring Yelich and Manuel Margot would be dynamic, but major hurdles exist. Pressure from Yelich will not force the Marlins to make an immediate move or to accept anything less than a massive return. The player is under team-friendly contract at $43.25 million over the next four seasons, and more than a dozen other clubs have expressed interest.
Is a run at Christian Yelich next?
San Diego Union-Tribune | Jan 22