What happens if Red Sox’ Triston Casas wins American League Rookie of the Year Award this season?

In a recent poll run by MLB.com, executives from across baseball were asked who they believe will win American and National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2023.

Five different players from the American League received votes, including Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas. Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson (73 percent of the vote) finished atop the leaderboard while Casas and Astros right-hander Hunter Brown (nine percent each) tied for second. Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (six percent) and Rangers third baseman Josh Jung (three percent) rounded it out.

Casas made his major-league debut in September but did not register enough plate appearances to graduate from his rookie status. In his first 27 games with the Red Sox, the left-handed hitter batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 95 trips to the plate.

On the surface, a .197 batting average may indicate poor results offensively. But Casas impressed the Red Sox with his plate discipline down the stretch and wound up leading all American League rookies (min. 90 PAs) with a 20 percent walk rate. Using that same parameter, he also ranked fourth in on-base percentage and sixth in isolated power (.211), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Casas made all 22 of his starts at first base and logged 198 innings at the position. While over there, 6-foot-4, 252-pounder was worth negative-two defensive runs saved, but he also accrued an ultimate zone rating of 0.2 and one out above average, according to Baseball Savant.

Prior to making his highly-anticipated debut last summer, Casas had missed a significant chunk of the minor-league season with a high right ankle sprain he sustained in May. As a result of all that missed time, the Red Sox sent Casas to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball for the Tigres del Licey back in October.

Casas appeared in three games for Licey before being shut down with knee discomfort. He flew back to Boston shortly thereafter to undergo further testing and an MRI revealed there was no structural damage. As opposed to sending him back to the Dominican, the Red Sox prescribed Casas rest and sent him home to Pembroke Pines, Fla. to recuperate. He just recently began incorporating baseball activities into his offseason workouts.

I’m progressing well with all my workouts and my swing progression has been on point,” Casas told Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette last month. “I’m starting to incorporate some defensive drills. Defense for me is a lot of footwork, so I’ve been working on my agility and I’m confident it will translate onto the field.”

Casas, who turns 23 later this week, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 19 prospect in the sport. He was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School.

When the hot stove season began in November, Casas was one of two left-handed hitting first baseman on the Sox’ 40-man roster alongside fellow Florida native Eric Hosmer. Hosmer has since been designated for assignment and subsequently released, so Casas — barring a surprising trade — appears to be on his way to becoming Boston’s everyday first baseman heading into spring training.

Since releasing Hosmer, however, the Red Sox have signed veteran infielder Justin Turner to a one-year, $15 million deal that includes a player option for 2024. Turner, primarily a third baseman in his nine seasons with the Dodgers, is expected to serve as Boston’s primary designated hitter, but the 38-year-old could also spell Casas at first base on occasion since he hits from the right side of the plate.

While that, in theory, could take away playing time from Casas, Casas himself will be looking to become the first Red Sox player to win Rookie of the Year Honors since Dustin Pedroia did so in 2007. And thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, winning Rookie of the Year now goes beyond personal achievement.

When Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association ratified a new collective bargaining agreement last March, a “prospect promotion incentive” was implemented to combat against service time manipulation. Teams who promote players with less than 60 days of service time to their Opening Day roster become eligible to receive an additional draft pick if one of those players goes on to win Rookie of the Year in the respective league.

The Mariners, for instance, were awarded an extra selection in the 2023 draft after Julio Rodriguez took home 2022 AL Rookie of the Year honors. Rodriguez and runner-up Adley Rutschman of the Orioles were each credited with a full year of service time as well since they finished first and second in voting and were included on two or more preseason top-100 prospect lists put out by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, or ESPN.

Casas comes into the 2023 campaign with 32 days of service time under his belt and will more than likely be included on at least two of these three publications’ top prospect lists. As such, he would be in line to receive a full year of big-league service time if he places first or second in AL Rookie of the Year voting this fall. The Red Sox, meanwhile, would pick up an extra draft pick in 2024 if Casas were to win the award outright.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer agrees to deal with Cubs, per report

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)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers agree to 11-year, $331 million contract extension

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have agreed to terms on an 11-year, $331 million contract extension, as was first reported by former major-leaguer Carlos Baerga on Instagram earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The deal, which is still pending a physical and has not yet been finalized, runs from 2023 to 2033, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe relays that the contract does not include any opt-outs while Jon Heyman of the New York Post adds that it does not contain a no-trade clause.

Devers, 26, will receive $20 million upfront in the form of a signing bonus, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. He will then earn $17.5 million in 2023 after agreeing to a one-year deal of that amount on Tuesday in order to avoid salary arbitration. All told, Devers’ contract represents the largest and longest in Red Sox history, blowing well past the seven-year, $217 million pact David Price signed in December 2015 and the eight-year, $160 million deal Manny Ramirez inked in Dec. 2000.

In terms of total value, the $331 million commitment is the sixth-largest in league history, as it surpasses Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal with the Phillies and slots in behind Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Angels, Mookie Betts’ $365 million deal with the Dodgers, Aaron Judge’s $360 million deal with the Yankees, Francisco Lindor’s $341 million deal with the Mets, and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million deal with the Padres.

Prior to Wednesday’s agreement, Devers was slated to become a free agent for the first time in his big-league career next winter. After trading Betts to the Dodgers in February 2020 and losing Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency last month, the Red Sox could ill-afford to watch another homegrown superstar take his talents elsewhere. While they ultimately came up short in extension talks with Betts and Bogaerts, they were able to get a deal done with Devers.

A client of REP1 Baseball, Devers originally signed with the Red Sox for $1.5 million as a highly-touted international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2013. The Sanchez native quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in baseball and broke in with Boston at the age of 20 in July 2017.

Since debuting for the Red Sox, Devers — now a veteran of six major-league seasons — has compiled a lifetime slash line of .283/.342/.512 to go along with 187 doubles, 139 home runs, 455 RBIs, and 439 runs scored over 689 career games. He won his first World Series title in 2018, took home his first Silver Slugger Award in 2021, and is a two-time All-Star.

Devers has proven to be particularly effective in the month of October. To go along with his World Series ring from 2018, Devers owns a career .303/.382/.573 line with eight home runs, 26 RBIs, and 27 runs scored in 26 postseason contests. He clubbed five homers in 11 games during Boston’s run to the American League Championship Series in 2021.

Last year, Devers batted .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 homers, 88 runs driven in, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts across 141 games (614 plate appearances). The left-handed hitting slugger appeared to be well on his way to an MVP-caliber campaign after receiving his second straight All-Star nod, but he was sidelined by right hamstring inflammation in late July/early August and his second-half production (.713 OPS in 55 games) took a hit as a result of him trying to play through it.

Regardless of how his 2022 season ended, though, Devers has squarely put himself in the conversation for the best offensive third basemen in the game. Since the start of the 2019 campaign, Devers leads all qualified American League hitters in total hits (591) and doubles (149). He also ranks fourth in home runs (108), second in RBIs (359), second in runs scored (346), eighth in batting average (.292), 20th in on-base percentage (.352), seventh in slugging percentage (.532), sixth in OPS (.884), 17th in isolated power (.240), and 15th in wRC+ (132), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, there are some concerns about Devers’ defensive abilities at third base. In 2022, the 6-foot, 240-pounder logged 1,186 innings at the hot corner and graded poorly in several categories, including Defensive Runs Saved (-6), Outs Above Average (-2), and Ultimate Zone Rating (-2.3). With that being said, the Red Sox can surely live with Devers’ occasional struggles on the field so long as he continues to produce at the plate at a high level.

Devers, who turns 27 in October, is now slated to remain in Boston through the end of his age-36 season in 2033. His $331 million contract is by far the largest handed out by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom since he took over in Oct. 2019. Bloom had recently expressed a desire to keep Devers in a Red Sox uniform beyond 2023.

“He has been somebody that we love and want right at the center of everything we hope to accomplish, obviously in 2023 but more importantly, in the years beyond,” Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Because those are the years he’s not under our control. We’re hoping to change that.”

Getting an extension done with Devers represents another milestone in what has already been an eventful offseason for Bloom and Co. While the likes of Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi have signed elsewhere as free agents, the Red Sox have added a number of veterans — such as Corey Kluber, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Martin on short-term deals. They also dipped into the international market by signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract at the Winter Meetings.

With Devers locked in for the next decade-plus, the Red Sox now have a franchise cornerstone they can build around as they look to put a disappointing and forgetful 2022 behind them.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Marlins have targeted Triston Casas in trade talks with Red Sox, per report

The Red Sox have emerged as a potential trade partner for the Marlins, according to a recent report from Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

The Marlins, per Jackson and Mish, are interested in acquiring first baseman Triston Casas from the Red Sox and would apparently be open “to dealing a significant player on their roster” in order to do so.

Casas, who turns 23 later this month, batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts in his first 27 games (95 plate appearances) with Boston last season after being called up from Triple-A Worcester in early September.

The Red Sox originally selected Casas — a Miami-area native — with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School in nearby Plantation, Fla. The Marlins owned the 13th overall selection in that summer’s draft and could have selected Casas, but they instead took high school outfielder Connor Scott.

It seems as though Miami is now regretting its decision and would not be against bringing in Casas to inject some life into a lineup that scored the fewest runs per game (3.62) in the National League last year. While the Marlins struggled offensively in 2022, their starting pitching was an area of strength. As such, Miami — as noted by Jackson and Mish — could look to deal from its surplus of arms in order to make a trade happen.

While reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and top prospect Eury Perez are believed to be off limits, the Marlins do have several intriguing rotation options. Jackson and Mish, in particular, list right-handers Pablo Lopez and Edward Cabrera and left-hander Trevor Rogers as pitchers Miami would need to include in a deal for a player such as Casas.

Lopez, 27 in March, posted a 3.75 ERA and 3.71 FIP with 174 strikeouts to 53 walks in 32 starts (180 innings) for the Marlins last season. The native Venezuelan is under club control through the end of the 2024 campaign. Cabrera, 25 in April, pitched to a 3.01 ERA (4.59 FIP) with 75 strikeouts to 33 walks in 14 starts (71 2/3 innings) for Miami last year. The Dominican native is under team control through 2028.

Rogers, on the other hand, turned 25 in November and is coming off a 2022 season in which he struggled to the tune of a 5.43 ERA (4.35 FIP) with 106 strikeouts to 45 walks over 23 starts spanning 107 innings of work. The southpaw was limited to just four outings after July 25 due to a bout with back spasms and a season-ending left lat strain sustained on Sept. 17.

Prior to that, though, Rogers made some noise in his first full season with the Marlins in 2021 by earning an All-Star selection and finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. The former first-round draft pick out of Carlsbad High School in New Mexico is under club control through the end of the 2026 season.

If the Marlins are serious about trading for Casas, it would likely take more than a one-for-one swap involving one of the three aforementioned pitchers. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. should have no real motivation to move Casas, who is not eligible for salary arbitration until 2026 and is under team control through 2028. That is particularly true after Boston released veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer last month when it could have retained him as an insurance policy for Casas.

With Hosmer out of the picture, Casas currently projects as the Red Sox’ everyday first baseman this coming season. If the Sox were to trade the left-handed hitter, Christian Arroyo, Bobby Dalbec, and Justin Turner all represent in-house options to take over starting first base duties.

While the chances of the Red Sox dealing Casas this winter seem low, it goes without saying that they could use more controllable starting pitching. In response to losing Nathan Eovaldi to the Rangers and Rich Hill to the Pirates in free agency, Boston agreed to a one-year deal with veteran starter Corey Kluber last week.

Kluber, who turns 37 in April, figures to join a rotation mix that includes Chris Sale, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, Brayan Bello, Garrett Whitlock, and possibly even Tanner Houck. Plenty of question marks pop up when going over this group since Kluber and Sale are no longer the workhorses they used to be, Paxton has not made a start since April 2021, Pivetta has proven to be inconsistent at times, and Bello, Whitlock, and Houck are all still relatively young.

In short, it’s a starting rotation that has boom-or-bust potential and adding on to it via trade certainly wouldn’t hurt. Given the likelihood of the Red Sox’ not wanting to move Casas, Jackson and Mish report that Ceddanne Rafaela is another Boston prospect the Marlins have their eyes on.

Rafaela, 22, was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November after a standout season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. He is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 3 prospect and possesses the ability to play both center field and shortstop at a high level defensively.

While Casas has already seemingly put himself in position to be part of the Red Sox’ plans in 2023, the same cannot be said for Rafeala, who has yet to play at the Triple-A level and still requires further development as far as his plate discipline is concerned.

Having said that, Jackson and Mish relay that the Marlins are prioritizing making improvements to their big-league roster as opposed to their farm system this offseason. Though Rafaela is undoubtedly talented, he figures to be more of a factor in the majors in 2024 unlike the already-MLB-ready Casas.

This is not the first time the Red Sox and Marlins have been linked in trade rumors this winter. Last month, Chad Jennings of The Athletic reported that the two clubs had discussions involving infielder Joey Wendle. Shortly thereafter, Ken Rosenthal (also of The Athletic) wrote that Boston had also asked Miami about fellow veteran infielder Miguel Rojas.

Both Wendle and Rojas turn 34 before the end of April and will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2023 season. Either one would provide the Red Sox with experienced infield depth.

To put this all together, it seems like a larger, multi-player swap between the Red Sox and Marlins has at least been discussed in recent weeks. That is not to say a trade is imminent, but it should be interesting to see if the two sides can get together on a possible deal before Opening Day in late March.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Triston Casas provides update on knee injury, looks ahead to 2023

Nearly 10 weeks after a bout with knee soreness resulted in him being pulled out of the Dominican Winter League, Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas says he is in good spirits.

“The knee is feeling better,” Casas told Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on Friday. “It was a little bit of a scare when I was in the Dominican. I tried to play through it a little bit, assuming that it was just a kink because I hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the big league season and the first game of that season.”

The Red Sox sent Casas to play winter ball in the Dominican in an effort to get him more at-bats. The 22-year-old went 2-for-9 (.222) with five RBIs in his first three games with the Tigres del Licey before being shut down in mid-October. He flew back to Boston shortly thereafter and underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

While there was initially some optimism that Casas would be able to return to Licey’s lineup, that ultimately never happened and he instead recuperated from home in Florida.

“It healed up well,” Casas said in regards to resting his knee. “I’m starting to run, starting to sprint and progressing back to pretty much being 100-percent healthy.”

At home with his family in Pembroke Pines, Casas has begun incorporating more baseball activities into his offseason workouts as he prepares for the start of spring training in February.

“I’m progressing well with all my workouts and my swing progression has been on point,” said Casas. “I’m starting to incorporate some defensive drills. Defense for me is a lot of footwork, so I’ve been working on my agility and I’m confident it will translate onto the field.”

Casas, who turns 23 next month, enters the 2023 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The left-handed hitter made his major-league debut in September and displayed quality plate discipline in the process of batting .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts in his first 27 games (95 plate appearances) with the Red Sox.

Because of what he showed down the stretch this year, the Red Sox now view Casas as their first baseman of the future. They made that much clear when they designated fellow left-handed hitting first baseman Eric Hosmer for assignment last week and officially released him on Thursday.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a recent conversation with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. “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.”

Despite that vote of confidence from the club’s top decision maker, Casas understands that he will still have to earn the starting job at first base once he reports to Fort Myers. At the same time, though, the former first-round draft pick out of American Heritage High School in 2018 looks at his past track record in the minors as a reason why he should find success in the majors.

“It gives me chills just thinking about it,” Casas said. “It’s something I’ve been working towards for a very long time. I feel really confident that I’m going to do well. At this point in my career I’ve been able to succeed at every level and I don’t anticipate the major-leagues being any different. I make adjustments really well and I’m ready.”

Casas very well could have debuted for the Red Sox before rosters expanded in September, but he missed a significant amount of time (roughly two months) while with Triple-A Worcester due to a high right ankle sprain sustained in mid-May. That was one of the reasons why he went to play winter ball in the Dominican.

“Initially, I was really upset because I felt like I was on the verge of getting into a groove and potentially making a case to make the (big-league) roster,” said Casas. “But (the injury) put everything into perspective.”

After a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League, Casas returned to Worcester on July 22. He slashed a stout .296/.404/.504 with five homers and 16 RBIs while playing above-average defense at first in 36 games (161 plate appearances) with the WooSox before getting called up to Boston on Sept. 4.

Although his surface level numbers — such as a .766 OPS — don’t necessarily jump off the chart, Casas did impress when it came to driving the ball to all fields as well as taking ball four. His 20.0 percent walk rate, for instance, ranked first among all American League rookies who made at least 90 trips to the plate in 2022, per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox were encouraged by Casas’ patient approach, among other things, which is why they felt comfortable enough to move on from Hosmer. That being said, there are some concerns when it comes to Casas’ durability seeing he dealt with two lower-body injuries this year alone. In an effort to combat these issues which have hindered his ability to swing a bat in the past, the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder noted that he has been trying to find the ideal playing weight for himself moving forward.

“During the season you lose weight, but right now I feel good where I’m at,” Casas said. “I’m going to try to stay at this weight, continue to get stronger and more agile and faster at this weight. My swing feels strong and fast, so I don’t feel the need to go on a diet, or try to bulk up at this point of my career. Right now 6-foot-5, 255 pounds is solid.”

Casas told McDonald that he is focused on his future with the Red Sox. The Red Sox, for their part, could look to lock in Casas — who is not yet eligible for salary arbitration — to a long-term contract extension before the 2023 season begins.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox release Eric Hosmer

The Red Sox have officially released first baseman Eric Hosmer, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Hosmer, 33, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals.

Boston originally acquired Hosmer — as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson — from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with a boost at first base, but he was limited to just 14 games with the club due to low back inflammation that kept him sidelined from late August until early October. During that time, top prospect Triston Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well enough to establish himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman heading into the 2023 season.

As chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo over the weekend, the Red Sox designated Hosmer for assignment with Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — at the forefront of their future plans.

“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,” Bloom said. “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.”

According to Cotillo, the Red Sox “worked hard” to trade Hosmer in recent weeks but were ultimately unable to find a partner. Hosmer opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month, so the acquiring team would be getting three years of control. Once he was designated for assignment, it became a foregone conclusion that Hosmer would be released since the team that claimed him would then be on the hook for the aforementioned last three years of his deal.

Now that he has cleared waivers and has been cut loose by the Red Sox, Hosmer — who is represented by Scott Boras — is free to sign elsewhere. Per Cotillo, whichever club signs Hosmer will only be responsible for the league minimum salary next year while the Padres pick up the rest of the tab.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Eric Hosmer for assignment, likely ending first baseman’s time in Boston after just 14 games

After acquiring right-handed reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals on Friday night, the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster. They did so by designating veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer for assignment.

Hosmer was acquired from the Padres (with minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August. The 33-year-old was initially going to be traded to the Nationals as part of the package that netted the Padres Juan Soto and Josh Bell, but he exercised his limited no-trade clause and Luke Voit was sent in his place.

The Red Sox then jumped in on the opportunity to nab Hosmer, who signed off on the move. As part of the four-player swap, Boston would only owe Hosmer the league minimum while San Diego would be responsible for the rest of his contract.

To that point in the season, the Red Sox had gotten little production out of their first basemen, namely Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero. Hosmer, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, was brought in to provide some stability at the position. He made his Boston debut on Aug. 4 and batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts in his first 12 games (45 plate appearances) with the club before hitting the injured list with low back inflammation on Aug. 23.

While Hosmer was sidelined, the Red Sox called up top first-base prospect Triston Casas from Triple-A Worcester in early September. The 22-year-old impressed to some degree down the stretch, as he slashed .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 27 games (95 plate appearances). Hosmer, on the other hand, returned from the injured list in early October and went 2-for-5 (.400) in two games against the Rays before season’s end.

The Red Sox entered the offseason with four first basemen on their 40-man roster (or five if you include Christian Arroyo). Last month, they did not tender a contract to Cordero, who has since signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles. They have also made Dalbec available in trade talks. Hosmer unsurprisingly opted into the final three years and $39 million of the eight-year, $144 million deal he originally received from the Padres in February 2018. Casas injured himself in winter ball but projects to be the team’s Opening Day first baseman in 2023.

Both Casas and Hosmer hit from the left side of the plate and primarily play first base, so rostering the two of them would have been difficult due to their redundancy. The Red Sox clearly view Casas — who turns 23 in January — as their first baseman of the future while Hosmer was viewed as more of an insurance policy. Keeping Hosmer on the roster was not impossible, but the kind of offensive production he has provided of late does not make him an ideal designated hitter candidate, either.

“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 on Friday night. “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.”

Instead of holding onto Hosmer going into the spring, the Red Sox — as explained by Bloom— elected to cut bait now. Boston now has the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hosmer, who can reject any move since he gained a full no-trade clause after being dealt by the Padres. Though Hosmer, who turns 34 in October, is slated to earn $13 million per year over the next three years, he can be had for the major-league minimum since San Diego remains on the hook for the bulk of the $39 million that is still owed to him. That in itself could make the former All-Star appealing to other teams in need of an experienced first baseman. If all else fails, Bloom and Co. could simply elect to release Hosmer, which would allow him to hit the open market and sign elsewhere as a free agent.

With Hosmer out of the picture, the Red Sox now seem poised to pursue a right-handed hitting corner infielder who could complement Casas at first base and would be an upgrade over Dalbec, who posted a .652 OPS in 117 games this past season.

Hosmer, for what it’s worth, becomes the third player Boston has designated for assignment this week, joining the likes of infielder/outfielder Hoy Park (who has since been traded to the Braves) and infielder Jeter Downs, who will likely get traded to or be claimed by another team in the coming days.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Eric Hosmer will not exercise opt-out clause in contract; first baseman is set to earn $39 million over next 3 seasons

Eric Hosmer has informed the Red Sox that he will not be opting out of the final three years and $39 million of his contract, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to take on nearly the entirety of Hosmer’s remaining contract, leaving Boston on the hook for only the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with stability at first base at a time when they desperately needed it. The 33-year-old recorded just nine hits in his first 12 games with the club before low back inflammation kept him sidelined and on the injured list into October. He returned in time for the final two games of the season.

After batting .272/.336/.391 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, 32 runs scored, 33 walks, and 55 strikeouts in 90 games (369 plate appearances) with the Padres to begin the year, Hosmer slashed .244/.320/.311 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts over 14 games (50 plate appearances) with the Red Sox to close it out.

Given that level of production, Hosmer’s decision to opt in is not necessarily a surprising one. The former first-round draft pick of the Royals spent the first seven years of his major-league career in Kansas City before signing an eight-year, $144 million deal with the Padres in February 2018.

At that time, Hosmer had inked the largest free-agent contract in Padres history. The deal included a full no-trade clause from 2018-2020 and a limited no-trade clause thereafter that prevented the Boras Corp. client from being traded to 10 teams.

The Padres attempted to trade Hosmer to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto/Josh Bell swap over the summer, but the four-time Gold Glover exercised his no-trade rights. While San Diego ultimately sent Luke Voit to Washington to complete the deal, it also found a trade partner for Hosmer when the Red Sox — who were not on his no-trade list — agreed to acquire the veteran first baseman.

Because he was traded by the Padres, though, Hosmer once again received full no-trade protection. Only this time it would last for the remainder of his contract. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported about this provision last month.

Given that unique caveat, the Red Sox may have difficulty in finding a trade partner for Hosmer since he has the ability to veto a trade to any other team. At the same time, however, there could still be plenty of interest on account of the fact Boston only owes Hosmer $720,000 per year over the next three years.

As things stand now, Hosmer’s fit on the 2023 Red Sox would seem to be an imperfect one. Boston already has a left-handed hitting first baseman on the rise in Triston Casas, so on paper there really would not be much of a need to carry two similar players like that.

With that being said, the Red Sox could elect to retain Hosmer as insurance behind Casas. It also helps that Hosmer played a role in mentoring Casas, a fellow American Heritage High School alum, after the 22-year-old was called up for the first time in September.

Beyond first base, Hosmer could help fill the void left behind by J.D. Martinez at designated hitter since Martinez is expected to sign elsewhere in free agency. He also has past experience in right field, though his last appearance out there came during his age-25 season in 2015.

At the end of the day, the Red Sox have options when it comes to what they will do with Hosmer moving forward. It should be interesting to see what the future has in store for him.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Triston Casas unlikely to return to Dominican Winter League due to knee injury

UPDATE: Licey general manager Audo Vicente told reporters (including David Alcantara) on Tuesday that while Casas remains in Boston, he is expected to rejoin the team in the third week of November.

Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas is not expected to return to the Dominican Winter League this offseason, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Monday.

Casas had been playing for the Tigres del Licey and went 2-for-9 (.222) with one RBI, two runs scored, five walks, and three strikeouts in his first three games with the club. The 22-year-old last suited up for Licey on October 17 and has since been sidelined with knee soreness.

Because of that discomfort, the Red Sox flew Casas to Boston so he could undergo further testing. An MRI revealed no structural damage, leaving Bloom and other team officials to believe Casas would be able to return to the Dominican Republic before Licey’s season ended. They no longer share that sense of optimism.

“He came back home, we looked at the knee, and we are not concerned,” Bloom said of Casas. “But just given that the soreness was still lingering, given what’s ahead of him — hopefully big things in 2023 — he ended up going back [home] to Florida. At this point, we don’t expect him to go back to [Licey].”

One of the reasons the Red Sox sent Casas to the Dominican because the former first-round draft pick missed nearly two months of the minor-league season with a high right ankle sprain. The idea was for him to make up for lost time, but this latest injury appears to have prevented that from happening in full.

Casas, who turns 23 in January, is expected to emerge as Boston’s everyday first baseman in 2023 if he can stay healthy. The left-handed hitter made his highly-anticipated major-league debut in September and batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 27 games (95 plate appearances) with the Red Sox.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox optimistic that Triston Casas will be able to return to Dominican Winter League before season’s end

Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas has not played for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League since October 17 due to knee soreness.

Casas, who went 2-for-9 (.222) with an RBI, two runs scored, five walks, and three strikeouts in his first three games with Licey, recently flew back to Boston to undergo an MRI on his sore knee.

The imaging revealed no structural damage and the Red Sox are optimistic the 22-year-old will be able to return to the Dominican Republic in the near future, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier on Tuesday.

“We brought him back to Boston, just to make sure that we felt good about everything and get checked out here. We didn’t have concern [based] off of that,” Bloom said. “He’s still in the states right now. But hopefully, he’ll be back down there soon and get ramped up and play a little more.”

Prior to making his major-league debut in September, Casas missed nearly two months of the minor-league season with a high right ankle sprain. Because he was sidelined for so long over the summer, the Red Sox opted to have Casas play winter ball so he could make up for lost time by seeing more live pitching.

It also helps that Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles is serving as Licey’s bench coach, so the organization has had boots on the ground when it comes to Casas’ wellbeing. If Casas is to return to Licey’s lineup in the coming days or weeks, it is worth mentioning that the Dominican Winter League regular season runs through December 16.

Casas, who turns 23 in January, appeared in 27 games for the Sox towards the end of the 2022 campaign. The left-handed hitter batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts across 95 trips to the plate.

If healthy, Casas is expected to emerge as Boston’s everyday first baseman in 2023. That said, he could have to compete with the likes of Bobby Dalbec and Eric Hosmer for the starting job during spring training.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)