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Chicago Cubs and Eric Hosmer reportedly close to agreement (UPDATE: In agreement)

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UPDATE: It’s happening, according to Jesse Rogers. Eric Hosmer to the Cubs.

The details of the signing will be fascinating, as Hosmer’s deal with the Padres – which they are paying – lasts another three years. Will the Cubs have to spend more than the major league minimum to entice Hosmer to pick them, given the possibility that he’ll be stuck with that team for three years, even though he only signed one? Will he get a no-trade clause? Etc., etc.

Hosmer believes he has the first look as the Cubs’ full-time first baseman, although the low-cost nature of the signing and the presence of Matt Mervis *SHOULD* mean the Cubs don’t have to give Hosmer a particularly long leaves. if it does not produce.

Also, for what it’s worth:

  • Chicago Cubs 2022 first basemen: .232/.304/.348/86 wRC+
  • Eric Hosmer in 2022: .268/.334/.382/104 wRC+

The Cubs will need to open a 40-man roster to finalize the deal with Hosmer.

*original post follows*

Reports last week made me think there was a lot of smoke here, and then this weekend, Jon Heyman indicated that there was progress. It therefore seemed inevitable for a while: Eric Hosmer and the Cubs are close to an agreement.

The free agent first baseman has his contract paid for by the Padres, so if the Cubs go through with this deal, they’ll only be liable for the league minimum ($700,000), unless they don’t. have to offer some kind of sweetener.

The Cubs need a first baseman who can provide AT LEAST a league average offense, and that’s about what Hosmer can provide, along with a below average glove and ball rate on the extreme floor (after the Cubs worked so hard to lower theirs …). Ultimately, the Cubs just need someone who can hold the fort down until Matt Mervis is ready and/or who can coordinate with Mervis on starts. Hosmer, another southpaw, is not ideal for this second game, although there is the DH spot available.

It all sounds negative, but I don’t hate the idea of ​​the Cubs signing Hosmer. As I wrote before:

I know Hosmer isn’t one of our favorite first base options for the Cubs, even in a limited market, but let me take this opportunity to put the positivity hat on and explain why it might not be. the worst decision in the world:

1.) Hosmer doesn’t have a great bat for a first baseman, but he still has an above average bat. Hosmer was exactly a league average bat by wRC+ in his five seasons with San Diego, but the last three seasons he was actually at .271/.335/.407/107 wRC+. He doesn’t provide much power, as he’s more of a contact type, but you wonder if he’d get a modest boost from the new shift rules.

2.) Hosmer is a southpaw, who is a career .287/.353/.457/119 wRC+ hitter off right-handers. This one goes both ways, as ideally you’d have a right-hander at first base to (eventually) curl up with Matt Mervis and/or take some of his load off as he adjusts to the big leagues. But on the other hand, the Cubs could just use another left-handed bat. Mervis *will* be a southpaw bat for them eventually, but you’d hate to rush him if you didn’t have to.

3.) Hosmer’s ugly contract situation over the years has probably warped our perception of him as a baseball player a bit. The contract went south almost immediately, but that’s sort of a separate question from “can this guy improve your roster?” And now the contract is no longer a problem.

4.) Which, by the way, is Hosmer’s biggest advantage: Because he’s still being paid by the Padres for THREE more years, any team that signs him is only liable for the minimum of the big league ($700,000), and you could theoretically hold him at that price for all three seasons. If Hosmer is still a useful player – even in a part-time role – he’s a pretty valuable guy to have on a minimum league contract. At 33, Hosmer may be declining too quickly for anything beyond 2023 to matter, but, again, it’s the PADRES who have to pay for it. So if it doesn’t work out in 2023, no harm, no fault. You release it and move on.

5.) For the Cubs, adding Hosmer — instead of spending, say, $10 million on Mancini — would mean the Cubs have over $9 million available to spend on another bat or another reliever or even a play commercial that a team wants to move. If the Cubs have a budget (let’s face it, they do), then this could be a situation where Hosmer + Other Guy > Mancini.

Hosmer is also considered by many to be a good leader in the clubhouse, and the guy doesn’t knock. There are legitimately good things here, although it will depend a bit on what else the Cubs do after Hosmer.

Also, I guess it’s important to remember that because of the cost, the Cubs really don’t need to be held by Hosmer if it just doesn’t work out. It’s almost like a waiver request.

Oh, something else. Eric Hosmer’s projection for 2023 at ZiPS is 0.286/0.340/0.431/107 OPS+, which, yes, looks about right. An upgrade for what the Cubs thought they had at first base (non-Mervis edition), but not an impact bat. But won’t block Matt Mervis either, so…shrug your shoulders? Its good? It’s always good.

More soon.

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