A report came out on Sunday from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that said the San Diego Padres are “aggressively shopping” both Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer. The Padres are trying clear some salary and while Hosmer has a limited no-trade list that reportedly included the Pirates, Myers would make sense for Pittsburgh.
Let’s look at this in a vacuum before expanding further. Myers fills a need for the Pirates. With experience as both a first baseman and a corner outfielder, Myers could spend time in either left field, right field or at first base. Plus, with the universal designated hitter, Myers’ bat would play there too. He could serve as a good complement for the lefty-swinging Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Myers is a below average defensive outfielder, but he’s graded above average at first base in his career, though most of his time spent at the position was in 2017 and before. Regardless of position fit, the move would be more focused on Myers’ bat than glove. The 31-year-old hit .256 with a .768 OPS (113 OPS+) with 17 home runs last year for the Padres.
But the real reason why the Pirates should make this trade? Taking on Myers and some/most of his $22.5M salary (plus a $1M buyout for 2023) would enable to Pirates to acquire a well-regarded prospect in a deal while sending San Diego a minimal return.
The Padres have a few intriguing prospects. I’m sure San Diego would be reluctant to part with CJ Abrams, Luis Campusano or Robert Hassell III, but the Pirates could ask. Mackenzie Gore was one arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball, but saw his status slide after a down and injury-plagued 2021. James Wood, Joshua Mears and Jackson Merrill could also be of interest.
The rebuilding efforts of the Pirates have been focused around trading their own Major League assets to add young talent. This would be a new way of obtaining more young assets without selling off a contributor from the Major League roster.
Will the Pirates do this? If the chances were any slimmer, they’d be non-existent. Can they? Absolutely. With a payroll hovering near the bottom in the entire league, they can certainly afford to take on a bad contract in order to get an interesting prospect or two along with it. Even if the Pirates took on the entire contract, their payroll would check in as one of the bottom six or so across all 30 teams even with other additions.
Plus, maybe Myers plays well enough in the first half of the regular season that a contending team comes calling at the trade deadline and the Pirates would be off the hook for the remainder of the contract. The Bucs could have the chance to acquire another asset for him. Even if that doesn’t happen, the salary is off the books at year’s end.
This is a move that makes sense for the Pirates on just about every possible level except for one, and that one is what will prevent this from ever happening. So while this is an intriguing idea, that’s all it will ever be.