Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cubs, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Jon Heyman of The New York Post first reported that the two sides were close to a deal on Tuesday night.
Hosmer, 33, was released by the Red Sox on December 22 after being designated for assignment six days prior. The decision to designate Hosmer served two purposes as it cleared a 40-man roster spot for newly-acquired reliever Wyatt Mills and served as a vote of confidence for rookie first baseman Triston Casas heading into 2023.
“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”
Boston acquired Hosmer (as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s contract down to the major-league minimum.
Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with some stability at first base but was limited to just 14 games with the club due to a bout with low back inflammation that required a lengthy stint on the injured list. While Hosmer was sidelined, Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well in his first taste of big-league action.
Casas’ performance down the stretch allowed for the Red Sox to move on from Hosmer without any real hesitation. Boston made an attempt to trade the Boras Corp. client while he was on waivers, but that never came to fruition and he was instead released.
In his 14 games with the Red Sox, Hosmer went 11-for-45 (.245) with three doubles and four RBIs. Between San Diego and Boston last year, the former Royals All-Star batted .268/.334/.382 with 19 doubles, eight home runs, 44 runs driven in, 38 runs scored, 37 walks, and 64 strikeouts across 104 games spanning 419 total trips to the plate.
Hosmer, who does not turn 34 until October, reportedly drew interest from the Marlins and Orioles in free agency before ultimately agreeing to sign with the Cubs. Chicago will only be responsible for paying Hosmer the league minimum in 2023 since the Padres are still on the hook for the remaining three years and $39 million of the eight-year, $144 million contract he originally signed in February 2018.
With all that being said, Hosmer becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter. He joins the likes of Matt Strahm (Phillies), Xander Bogaerts (Padres), J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), Rich Hill (Pirates), and Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers). Michael Wacha remains unsigned, though his market could soon be heating up.
(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)