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Eric Hosmer’s long winter journey into free agency ended Saturday night when the All-Star first baseman agreed to sign with the San Diego Padres.
The Padres and Hosmer reached agreement on an eight-year, $144 million deal that will pay him more than any player in franchise history, according to a baseball official with direct knowledge of the agreement.
The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
USA TODAY Sports reported in January that Hosmer had seven-year offers from the Royals and Padres, but that Hosmer was hoping for an eight-year commitment.
After long last, the Padres agreed, ending a courtship that began at the offseason’s outset, when Hosmer met with club officials in San Diego.
Wil Myers, whose six-year, $83 million extension was previously the largest in Padres history. will now move to the outfield. That clears first base for Hosmer, 28, who hit a career-high 25 home runs in each of the past two seasons for Kansas City. While he moves to a similarly pitcher-friendly park in San Diego, Hosmer’s on-base skills have appreciated in recent seasons as he produced a career-best .385 OBP last season.
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Despite his prime age and decent production, Hosmer was among the top-level free agents who festered on the market all the way into spring training. Hosmer, pitcher Jake Arrieta and slugger J.D. Martinez all are represented by agent Scott Boras, who has lambasted major league franchises for a collective lack of desire to compete.
Hosmer’s deal is now the richest of this off-season, and the second nine-figure deal signed in eight days, after pitcher Yu Darvish’s $125 million agreement with the Cubs. Not before this off-season had free agents signed such a large deal after Feb. 1, let alone after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.
Hosmer will be the centerpiece of a Padres rebuild that’s on the upswing and should be quickly fortified by a farm system generally ranked in the top three among prospect experts.
He will receive a $5 million signing bonus, and $20 million per season for the first five seasons. Hosmer will receive $13 million per season the final three years of the deal.