2018 San Diego Padres
2018 San Diego Padres / Franchise: San Diego Padres / BR Team Page
Managed by Andy Green
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2018 San Diego Padres made a splash just as spring training opened, as they signed free agent 1B Eric Hosmer to an eight-year contract worth $144 million. It was both the largest contract of the off-season for any team, and the largest in Padres history. The deal had been in negotiation for months, with the Kansas City Royals also interested in re-signing Hosmer, the sticking point being Hosmer's insistence on a deal lasting eight years when the two teams were not willing to go beyond seven. The Padres eventually relented and bagged the prize. The deal was also surprising because San Diego had just started a major rebuilding and had the lowest projected payroll in the majors prior to the signing, although the length of the deal meant Hosmer would presumably still be around when the fruits of that work were ripe for harvest. It also meant that incumbent 1B Wil Myers, the Padres' best hitter the previous two seasons, would move back to the outfield, given that Hosmer was a much better defender at first base.
The Padres' most outstanding player in the first month came out of nowhere: rookie Christian Villanueva had made the team as a back-up and was the third different player to start a game at third base on April 3d when he had a three-homer game to lead the Padres to an 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies, the team's first victory of the season. He continued to hit to claim the starting job at the hit corner and finished April with a .692 slugging percentage - best in the National League, with a total of 8 homers. He was named the league's Rookie of the Month. Another young player also drew some attention, OF Franchy Cordero, who stepped in when starting CF Manuel Margot landed on the disabled list after being hit by a pitch on April 9th. He was not as consistent as Villanueva but opened eyes with some monster home runs, including one 489-foot blast on April 20th which was the longest hit by a Padres player since the introduction of the Statcast measuring system. He hit 6 home runs by the end of April, an impressive total for a player who had never hit more than 17 in any of his seasons in the minors.
On May 4-6, the Padres hosted a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers away from Petco Park, at Estadio de béisbol Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo León. The first game turned out to be a historic one, but more for the Dodgers, as four pitchers led by rookie starter Walker Buehler combined to no-hit the Padres, 4-0. It was the first no-hitter ever pitched outside the United States or Canada. The Padres bounced back nicely however, taking the final two games, 7-4 and 3-0, with Hosmer homering in both contests. The no-hit loss brought back focus on the fact the Padres remained the last franchise in the majors never to have thrown a no-hitter, and two pitchers made ultimately unsuccessful bids to break that curse within a few days of one another. On April 20th, Tyson Ross made it to two outs in the 8th when Franchy Cordero misjudged a fly ball by Christian Walker of the Arizona Diamondbacks into a double, and on May 15th, it was Jordan Lyles, making just his second start since being promoted from the bullpen to replace a struggling Bryan Mitchell in the rotation, who retired 22 straight batters before allowing a clean single to Trevor Story of the Rockies with one out in the 8th. A few weeks later, on June 10th, Clayton Richard pitched 6 2/3 innings against the Miami Marlins before Miguel Rojas and J.T. Riddle had back-to-back hits, the only two given up by the Padres in a 3-1 win.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Brad Hand
- Associated Press: "Padres add veteran Eric Hosmer to help lead rebuilding squad", USA Today Sports, March 22, 2018. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Eric Hosmer's signing sends a message: 'The Padres are very serious'", USA Today Sports, February 18, 2018. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Padre punch: Rookies Franchy Cordero, Christian Villanueva show off power", USA Today Sports, May 3, 2018.