In a report for the NY Post, columnist Ken Davidoff argues in favor of the Mets making a push for free-agent Eric Hosmer by offering at least a seven-year, $150 million contract.
"While he has not presented a picture of consistency, with underwhelming 2014 and 2016 campaigns, Hosmer has displayed his ceiling with very strong performances in 2013, 2015 and 2017," explains Davidoff, who predicted earlier this month that Hosmer would eventually sign with the Red Sox.
I totally understand that signing Hosmer would 'make a splash,' as people say. It would plant a bold, new flag at the start of the Callaway Era, much like Omar Minaya did with Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran when he and Willie Randolph took over the franchise.
It also appears the organization's balance sheet can handle giving Hosmer a seven-year deal, especially if he's willing to backload the contract with its more expensive seasons coming after 2021, which is when Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom are currently slated to be free agents. In that scenario, where Hosmer would be paid close to $30 million each season toward the end of the deal, he could be paid $15 million during his first four years, which would help Alderson afford other needed additions for next season.
The financials can seemingly work out and there is a positional fit. However, I'm not convinced Hosmer as a player is worth the money. And it certainly isn't smart to commit to him for seven seasons, more than half of which will occur after his 30th birthday.
Instead, I'd much rather see the Mets give a lesser deal to Carlos Santana, which will create a similar 'splash,' for roughly the same results and money the next three or four years, plus allow Alderson financial flexibility down the road for when Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario are due significant increases in salary.
I acknowledge that Hosmer is probably a slightly better base runner and clearly has more isolated power. However, in the end, they hit the ball equally hard and generate similar damage and run production. At the same time, Santana creates more activity for base runners and has a more contained swing and better restraint on pitches outside the strike zone, which is extra important in the National League.
In the field, though Hosmer is a former Gold Glove winner, he has struggled around first base the last few seasons, but I do think his stats look worse than what I see of him when watching him play. In either case, Santana, who entered the league as a catcher, is clearly the best fielding first baseman on the free-agent market. He's not as good as I believe we will eventually see from Dominic Smith, but Santana is head and shoulders better than Hosmer and Wilmer Flores.
"We have had several decent players, but as a group I don't think we valued it as much as we need to," Mets assistant GM John Ricco said on SNY on Thursday night. "I think that you will see us focus a little bit more on the defense."
There's no question these Mets would benefit from Hosmer's leadership, which is one of the reasons insiders believe the Royals will pony up to keep him. Losing him would not only have a major impact on their lineup, but, as one person put it to me, "they'd also be losing their true north."
For the Mets, though, who have only $30-40 million to spend on additions and other less, long-term ways to fill their immediate needs, spending $150 million on Hosmer for seven years would be foolish when Santana can be had for for half the money and half the time.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...