The baseball world was in a frenzy. Arguably the biggest name in sports had been traded in one of the largest deadline deals ever, it only needed Eric Hosmer’s approval. Only, he wouldn’t give it.
Just after noon on Tuesday, it was reported that Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and teammate Josh Bell were traded to the San Diego Padres for a haul of top prospects.
McKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood
and Jarlin Susana plus Hosmer (3-$39M after this season) to Wash for Soto/Bell. That is probably the most substantive deal in deadline history
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 2, 2022
It was a franchise-altering trade for both teams. The Padres were picking up a generational star to pair with their already generational star, Fernando Tatis Jr., and would likely have become the favorites for the World Series. The Nationals would have added four prospects who are currently, or were recently, all ranked within the top 20 in all of baseball.
But then the deal hit an unexpected snag when it was revealed that the Nationals were on Eric Hosmer’s no-trade list, meaning that he would have to approve the deal in order for the whole thing to be complete.
While the rest of the baseball world was caught up in the historic nature of the trade, Eric Hosmer was apparently feeling an entirely different way.
Hearing #Padres 1B Eric Hosmer is not thrilled about being traded to #Nationals, so it will likely take a chunk of money or maybe an additional year added to his already onerous 8-year, $144-million deal (3 years, $39 million left, through 2025) to get him to sign off on deal.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) August 2, 2022
Reports started circulating about whether Hosmer would need to be traded to a third team or if the Padres could simply increase his compensation in some way to make him agree. There was even speculation that this snag would allow the Los Angeles Dodgers to leap back into the fray for Juan Soto.
Hosmer appeared to have two choices: accept a deal to play for one of the worst teams in baseball or reject the trade and play for a team that didn’t want him and who he just stopped from getting a franchise player. It was an unenviable position for anybody to be in, but it was all anybody could talk about.
Eric Hosmer — one of the biggest voices in the room, a man whose signing, regardless of how it turned out, symbolized that franchise's return to relevance — having to agree to the deal that would make the Padres one of the best, most exciting teams in the sport is FASCINATING.
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 2, 2022
For 15 chaotic minutes, all any baseball fan or writer could do what speculate on what it would take for Eric Hosmer to accept this deal and what kind of madness would result if he didn’t.
Only, the speculation was all for naught.
When Soto was informed by the Nationals he's moving, it was immediately clear some version of the deal will get done. The Padres knew that Eric Hosmer had Washington on his no-trade list and could invoke it. There are always different iterations.
The point: The deal will happen. https://t.co/TFH8vob1p4
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2022
Eric Hosmer did, in fact, reject the trade. However, Juan Soto and Josh Bell are still being traded to the Padres and much of the drama of the afternoon quickly faded.
The final iteration of the trade is still being worked out, as is what the Padres plan to do with Hosmer. He no longer has a spot in the lineup with Josh Bell in town, and there is increased friction between him and the front office. It appears to most to be an untenable situation, which will make trading him hard for the Padres, who have little leverage.
We’re unclear if the number or names of the prospects headed back to Washington will remain the same when all is said and done. We also don’t know where Eric Hosmer will play his next game or if the Padres will have to give up another prospect just to get another team to take on his salary. What we do know is that Juan Soto is now a Padre and his name will forever be linked to Eric Hosmer and the wildest 15 minutes in recent years.
UPDATE: San Diego ultimately swapped first baseman Luke Voit into the deal for Eric Hosmer and kept the rest of the trade the same. Hosmer was later traded, along with two other prospects, to Boston for left-handed pitching prospect Jay Groome. It was reported at the time that the Padres are also covering the vast majority of Hosmer’s salary)
For more MLB coverage, like this Eric Hosmer and Juan Soto article, visit amNY Sports