For months now – really dating back to pre-trade deadline last summer – we’ve seen rumors and reports connecting the Cubs and Padres, specifically on first baseman Eric Hosmer and the final three years of his contract.
San Diego is looking to rebound from a horrendous second-half collapse, but lack the payroll flexibility they’d surely love to have to shore up the core with heading into 2022. Enter the Cubs, who are more than able to take on Hosmer’s contract (along with prospects, for their troubles, of course).
There’s nothing new on that front specifically, which isn’t a surprise given the ongoing lockout. Although with back-to-back days of 3+ hours of meetings between the league and the MLBPA, I daresay I feel a tinge of optimism heading into the back half of the week. What we do have, though, is a mailbag from The Athletic‘s Padres beat writer Dennis Lin (subscription required) connecting the Friars to Athletics first baseman Matt Olson.
Olson, widely regarded as one of the hottest trade candidates available, comes with two years of team control – not to mention the fact he’s a solidly above-average player on both sides of the ball. It’s not hard to understand why the Padres, who hired Olson’s longtime manager Bob Melvin this winter, would want to add him to their lineup.
But them actually being able to do so is another story.
Cubs Rumors: Matt Olson, Padres report could help Jed Hoyer in trade talks
Based on everything we know, the Padres would almost certainly have $60 million to trade Hosmer before they could take on Olson’s salary. Knowing as much could put Chicago in a stronger position to negotiate once the lockout lifts – demanding either more or higher-quality prospects in return for taking on that AJ Preller needs to dump.
Of course, there are other moving pieces at play here. Just this week, we heard Buster Olney report there’s a ‘growing belief’ Freddie Freeman leaves Atlanta in free agency – which would trigger a domino-like series of events on the first base market. That would leave a gaping hole at first for the reigning World Series champs – one that Olson could fill perfectly if Atlanta lined up a trade.
Maybe the Braves don’t want to go that route. That could mean Anthony Rizzo heads to Georgia on his next deal. Could the Yankees pursue Olson? What about the Yankees, who could be in on Freeman or Olson? In other words, there’s a major lack of clarity regarding the whole situation but, as Cubs fans, we shouldn’t tune it out because there’s a decent chance Chicago ends up playing some role in it all before the dust settles.