Now is the perfect time for the Cubs to pull off an Eric Hosmer trade
To this point, at least, it sure doesn’t seem like this winter will mark the sudden impact transformative adventure we’d hoped for given the free agent class. The Chicago Cubs have largely sat on the sidelines, with the lone exception of some trickery that helped them pick up Wade Miley off waivers from the Reds earlier this month.
As far as the top free agent talents go – there’s been only speculative ties between the Cubs and guys like Corey Seager. Carlos Correa had a multi-hour lunch with Tigers manager AJ Hinch this week and followed several Detroit players on social media, only fueling the belief he’ll eventually wind up in the Motor City.
Players tied to draft pick compensation after turning down the qualifying offer at season’s end are non-starters for this front office – at least right now. Maybe that changes as spring training draws nearer, but it’s hard to envision Jed Hoyer punting on draft picks to add a player with the big league club where it is right now.
I suspect we’re going to see a lot of reclamation projects and prove-it deals. That’s not the sexy avenue we all want, but it’s definitely the likeliest. If everything is chugging along next summer, great – if not, you’ll see those guys on one-year deals flipped for young talent, much the same as you did this July when Hoyer tore the house down to the studs.
That doesn’t mean the Cubs can’t still make some headline-grabbing moves, though. Given their tremendous financial flexibility, they have multiple avenues at their disposal including one we haven’t given a whole lot of thought to yet – the trade market.
Ahead of the July 30 deadline, there was a lot of speculation the Cubs (or another team) might look to trade for Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. That consideration was made with the thought San Diego would undoubtedly have to attach at least one top prospect to the deal to get a club to take on the four years and $60 million left on his deal.
Chicago Cubs have nothing to lose by trading for Eric Hosmer this offseason
Which brings us back to this moment. If Chicago isn’t going to go after any truly high-impact players, this could be the perfect chance to circle back on talks with AJ Preller and San Diego and see what a Hosmer trade could look like.
You know Preller is looking to help his team shake off its catastrophic second-half collapse. They’ve got a new manager in Bob Melvin and unloading Hosmer’s contract off the books could allow him more flexibility when looking to shore up the core of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado this winter.
On the other side of the equation, say the Cubs are content treading water for the most part in 2022. Play roughly .500 ball and let the prospects keep working their way through the system. Then what do you have to lose by trading for Hosmer and adding someone like Robert Hassell to your ranks? The kid ranks #43 on MLB.com’s latest Top 100 rankings – and he definitely wouldn’t be the only piece coming back.
The payroll flexibility won’t be an issue for the Cubs. They have next to nothing on the books long-term and even Jason Heyward’s deal comes off the books after the 2023 season. If adding a $15 million AAV contract to the books allows Hoyer to add a Top 100 talent alongside the likes of Brennen Davis in the outfield, then let’s get it done.