The Padres this week signed Wil Myers to a 6 year $83M extension, keeping him a Padres through 2022 barring a trade. Finally, the Padres acquired a young player and locked him up long term. The move is a huge step for these Padres as they build a winner – as long as he can stay healthy.
If you remember, Wil Myers was originally drafted by the Royals before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays before the 2013 season for James Shields and Wade Davis. He was called up that year and promptly went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
He was limited by injuries in 2014 before he was a part of a three team trade during the Winter of Rockstar Preller.
His first season as a Padre he was dynamic at times, but again slowed by injuries. The team had moved an injury prone left fielder to center field and it did not help.
In 2016 they moved him to first base in hopes of reducing his injuries and amplifying his production: it worked.
Myers became an All Star and topped nearly all career numbers including home runs, steals, RBI and most importantly to the Padres: games played.
Now the Padres and their ownership group, with rock star GM AJ Preller reduced to “cheater” GM after it was found the Padres hit medical records, stepped up and showed a step towards building a long lasting winning team.
With superstars waiting in the wings with Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, they locked up third base with Yangervis Solarte signed to a multi year contract. Locking up Myers though last his free agency years was the key. He can built around.
As important as Hunter Renfroe is to this teams future, Myers is the true cornerstone. He is ready to lead this team and is still entering his prime with years of MLB experience. A productive Myers protects Renfroe and Schimpf and Solarte and C Austin Hedges. Myers can mentor and model what it takes on and off the field.
The Padres are finally embracing the new financial model of baseball. They unloaded (mostly) the bad contracts in the past of Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr, though technically still paying for them. If all goes well with Myers, it will give them courage to sign Renfroe and Margot to long term deals after a couple of successful seasons and actually keep a core of good players together for awhile.
If Myers fails, it could spell doom. All the rebuilding of the minor league system would be for naught if ownership can’t trust itself, and it would be nack to the Padres being the minor league team for everyone else.
Wil Myers, with the Padres now the only game in town with the Chargers exit, needs to be the face of San Diego sports. Can he do it?