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All-Star first baseman Eric Hosmer is in the middle of a reasonable eight-year, $144 million deal, playing for a winning team in the middle of a wild card race. He came to San Diego when the team could barely sniff 75 wins and were largely considered the laughing stock of the National League.
But Hosmer, 31, brought a winning attitude and a veteran’s perspective to the flailing franchise, and now the team is making that important jump from ‘young and talented’ to ‘frisky and capable.’ His teammates recognize his importance in the clubhouse as well as the ballpark.
“He started this whole winning thing,” MVP candidate Manny Machado said. “When he came over here, he changed the organization’s culture. This is all on him. When we do win one, he’s going to be a big part of it.’’
If this season’s trade deadline is any indication, though, it doesn’t look like Hosmer will be around to see the seeds he helped plant grow into fruition. The Padres had every intention of dealing their original building block if the price were right. Hosmer had to read about his team floating rumors and fielding offers all throughout the end of July, including a potential deal for then-Ranger Joey Gallo, as well as some possible trades with the Cubs during their infamous sell-off.
But by all accounts he never balked at the front office, even though it’s clear he doesn’t want to leave Southern California.
“It was definitely weird, man,’’ Hosmer said. “I was checking my phone. Checking Twitter to see what was going on. It was the first time that I ever knew that being traded was a real possibility.’’
And if he had been dealt at the deadline?
“It would have stung,’’ Hosmer said. “Eventually I would have gotten over it and moved on, but it definitely would have stung.
“I still don’t know what’s going to happen after this year, but at least I’m here through the rest of the season.’’
Hosmer may have actually strangely benefited from the trade scare with a little extra chip on his shoulder. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting well over .300 with an OPS over .900 as well. Instead of worrying about the future, though, Hosmer says he’s interested in enjoying his time in San Diego right now.
“We’ll see, man, you never know what happens in this game,’’ Hosmer said. “All I know is that I’m here for the rest of the season. So I’m going to give it everything I got and we’ll see where we’re at, after that. But it would be so special to win something here with these guys and see this thing all of the way through.
“Now when people talk about the Padres, it’s a completely different conversation than versus a couple of years ago.’’