The Cubs are reportedly close to signing Eric Hosmer, a left-handed first baseman who fills a few needs for Jed Hoyer. The 33-year-old hit .268 with 27 extra hits including eight home runs, 44 RBIs and a .716 OPS in 104 games last season with the Padres and Red Sox (14 games). I’m the upset in the crowd, but I think it’s a good signing and improves on the three ring circus of 2022 that was Frank Schwindel, Alfonso Rivas and PJ Higgins.
Hosmer will give the Cubs a left-handed presence in the roster and allow the team to fall back in case Matt Mervis struggles as a rookie. It will cost Chicago the league minimum and Hosmer can be cut at any time without too much damage to the roster or payroll. He will also have the chance to work as a DH.
Adding Hosmer makes the Cubs a better team, even though he’s not the marquee signing most fans wanted. Let’s face it, the first base market has been pretty weak this year. José Abreu was the big fish and Hoyer reportedly offered the 36-year-old a two-year contract, but he signed with the Astros for three years. Josh Bell signed with the Guardians for two years at $33 million, a great deal for a player who went down .192/.316/.271 after the trade deadline. No thanks.
Hosmer is arguably the third-best available at the position and will cost the Cubs $720,000. Other Hoyer options were Brandon Belt, Miguel Sano, Yuli Gurriel, Trey Mancini and Luke Voit. You won’t find a less inspiring group of early sackers, so it’s hard to say Hoyer kicked the post. If Mervis and Hosmer also prove uninspiring, the front office may hunt Rhys Hoskins, CJ Cron or Max Muncy (a $10 million club option) next season.
Getting Hosmer at a discount gives the Cubs a number of additional options. For example, if Hoyer wanted to try and get third baseman Rafael Devers away from the Red Sox, he has more pay space. He may also include Patrick Wisdom or Christopher Morel in the deal. It won’t be enough, but Boston looks set to lose Devers (with more than 100 games this season), and Wisdom would be a nice transitional piece, just like it was in Chicago. Morel could give the Red Sox a cheap multiposition option with a knack for getting big hits.
Hosmer’s contract also saves money which could be used to extend Nico Hoerner and/or Ian Happ. I know that sounds like a frugal sentiment and it’s also a sentiment that I’m generally opposed to. But I’d rather have Happ and Hosmer than just Abreu or Bell. If you look at all of these contracts in terms of AAVs, Hoyer has protected his option to extend either or both starters. If Hosmer signs, the Cubs get a league average player for next to nothing. It’s a small upgrade, but a left-handed insurance policy worth 1.1 wins is much better than last year’s triumvirate which had a negative impact (cumulative -0.6 WAR) on the range.
Finally, Hosmer represents a continuation of Hoyer’s commitment to defense as the first baseman has four Gold Glove awards. That said, defensive settings aren’t as kind to him as managers and coaches in the league. Still, it’s another upgrade over last year’s first base Clown Car. Hosmer’s deal has value even if you have to sift through a little dust to find it. Financial flexibility is the obvious key, or as we call it here, smart spending.
Cub News and Notes
Odds & Sods
I hadn’t seen that before this morning but I love Jameson Taillon’s analysis. There’s a little John Lackey in Taillon. If Jon Lester continues to mentor Justin Steele, Steele and Taillon’s pairing should be fun.
The massive deal Carlos Correa signed with the Mets is going to look “drastically different” given New York’s concerns with his leg.
Early odds give Shohei Ohtani a better than 80% chance to earn $500 million or more in free agency.
Devers and the Red Sox agreed to a contract for 2023thus avoiding arbitration.
Both parties are equally engage in extension talks according to reports.
Korean star Jung-hoo Lee will be assigned to MLB after the 2023 season.
The pickings are very thin among baseball’s best remaining free agents.
Kyle Schwarber could benefit more from the new shift rules than any other hitter.
Former Giants general manager Brian Sabean said joined the Yankees front office as executive advisor to Brian Cashman.
Yes, there was a time when Rondell White, Mark Grudzielanek, Todd Ziele and Todd Hundley had their five minutes of fame to Saturday Night Live. Baseball dreams come true.
I love the Cubs’ “On Deck” video series and look forward to each new episode dropping. Mervis and Owen Caissie are next.
Wednesday morning six pack
I will use this space this morning to talk about Damar Hamlin. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Bills defensive back.
- Hamlin seems to progress.
- The defensive back died and had to be resuscitated twiceonce in the field and once in the hospital.
- There is a big difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack. Both are frightening and life-threatening incidents, but electronic malfunction is without warning signs.
- Commotio cordis is rare, with less than 30 cases declared each year, according to an article from the National Library of Medicine. The phenomenon has been observed in youth baseball and lacrosse when balls hit players in the chest. The main worry for survivors is brain damage from lack of oxygen when the heart stops pumping blood.
- Hamlin’s Toy Drive exceeded $6.25 million since this morning. The original goal was $2,500.
- Skip Bayless was a kinda dumb on social media and put the NFL, the game and potential playoff standing above Hamlin’s health. Shannon Sharpe put Bayless in her place. Bayless was upset that his producers allowed Sharpe to discuss his tweets.
They said it
- “One of my first road trips was to Chicago when I was with Pittsburgh, and I think it was a Friday game with (Jake) Arrieta on the mound when he was untouchable. And I just remember stepping back and feeling the surroundings there’s nothing better than a one day game at wrigley in the summer i remember thinking at the time , like, ‘It’s the major leagues here. It’s the show. – Taillon
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Prayers for Hamlin.