For a moment, Eric Hosmer looked like the most powerful man in baseball.
Turns out, the whole situation was overblown.
Tuesday morning, details of the Juan Soto and Josh Bell trade to the San Diego Padres started trickling out. One of the pieces mentioned later on was Hosmer, the Padres’ now-former first baseman who has underperformed and comes with a big contract that has a no-trade clause.
Since the Nationals were on his no-trade list, Hosmer was able to veto the trade – a situation that put him in an impossible spot. He had to either waive it so the trade would go through and he in turn goes from a contender to a terrible team, or he exercises his right to say no and becomes maligned.
Hosmer said no, but that wasn't an issue as the Padres swapped him with Luke Voit and that completed the trade with the Nats. Hosmer then was sent to the Boston Red Sox, who were not on his no-trade list, with the Padres eating everything but the minimum amount of money for the remaining years of his contract.
Appearing Wednesday on “The Sports Junkies”, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo explained what happened with Hosmer.
"The sixth player in the deal we knew was going to be a big league player with a Major League component on it, and there was a list of several players there that could be with us," Rizzo said. "The Padres just had to work out which player it was, so we put in a block of players, kind of a player to be named later, and they were going to name the player later, and they did."
Basically, it sounds like the Nats were willing to take on Hosmer and the Padres wanted to offload him on the Nationals, but Hosmer wouldn't go. The next asset they were willing to part with that Washington would consider was Voit, so when Hosmer said no Voit was the next one up – and without trade protection didn't have a say in the matter.
Hosmer had been in trade rumors pretty much his entire time in San Diego, and the Red Sox often were linked to him. Ultimately, Hosmer gets to go to a team that’s still in playoff position, the Padres get Soto and Bell, and the Nats don’t have to deal with the fallout of a blockbuster trade breaking down.
Everyone wins. Kind of.