Chicago Cubs: Pulling off an Eric Hosmer trade actually makes sense
Recently, we’ve heard more on those previously reported Eric Hosmer trade talks that went down this summer between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. Obviously, this trade never came to fruition, but the move would have actually been quite beneficial to the Cubs had the two respective clubs pulled the trigger on the deal (and, for what it’s worth, still could be if they re-visit these talks post-lockout).
Not only would Hosmer give Chicago a four-time Gold Glover at first base, but he’d add a much-needed lefty bat to the mix – one capable of stepping into the role long occupied by Anthony Rizzo. Sure, that’s a tall order in the hearts of Cubs fans, but not so difficult when it comes to performance.
For his career, Hosmer owns a .277/.336/.431 slash line. After seeing his strikeout rate climb to 24.4 percent in 2019, he worked to get it back down to a slightly lower than career average 17.5 percent this season. He posseses decent splits with a career .281 batting average at home and .274 on the road. Furthermore, his righty/lefty splits were decent as well, batting .262 against southpaws and .272 against right-handers in 2021, respectively.
Fun fact: with the majority of games at Wrigley (hitter-friendly park) being played during the day, it’s interesting to notice Hosmer’s daytime stats of .291/.345/.446 in 1,988 lifetime at-bats.
In Hosmer, not only do you get a solid bat in the lineup, you get a a superb defender at first base. The biggest issue when it comes to the Padres first baseman is his contract. He earns $20 million in 2022 – and $13 million annually from 2023 to 2025. Yes, there’s an opt-out after 2022, but there’s pretty much zero chance he exercises said option. So why would the Cubs take on this contract? Because it comes with a cherry on top.
Chicago Cubs: Continuing to add prospects is a focus for Jed Hoyer
Of course, we now know the top prospect the Cubs had their sights set on to sweeten the deal was catcher Luis Campusano. That makes things very interesting for a number of reasons. First and foremost you have the obvious lack of extension talks with Willson Contreras. Campusano, who sits at #37 on the MLB top 100 prospects list, could step in immediately as an heir apparent to the longtime Cubs backstop.
Landing a catcher of Campusano’s caliber unfortunately speaks volume to the Cubs’ willingness to move Contreras either during the offseason or at the deadline next summer. Given the lack of options on the depth chart behind the recently-signed Yan Gomes, upgrading the catching position makes a ton of sense – and could make taking on Hosmer’s deal worth it in the long-run.
Regardless of what happens, Hosmer and Campusano both fit well on the Cubs. Moving Contreras has the potential to go down as a terrible trade regardless, as All-Star-caliber catchers do not come along everyday and it’s a gamble that Campusano will, in fact, work out. Still, it’s likely we’ll see Hoyer circle back on these type of deals after the lockout – so never say never.