Earlier this morning, we touched on the expectations for Chicago Cubs' first base prospect Matt Mervis. Mervis is expected to have an opportunity to make the Major League roster out of Spring Training in 2023 but it has been believed that the Cubs want to add a veteran first baseman to serve as a platoon partner for the 24-year-old first baseman. The Cubs had previously been linked to Jose Abreu and Josh Bell before they signed with the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians respectively. Trey Mancini remains on the free-agent market and there is a fit considering he is a right-handed hitter but Jon Heyman of the New York Post added to the Eric Hosmer speculation.
"While the hometown Marlins make some sense for Eric Hosmer, he’s on the radar of the Cubs and Orioles. … "- Jon Heyman, New York Post.
There remains only one benefit to adding Hosmer and that is that the San Diego Padres are on the hook for the remainder of the 8-year, $144MM deal that expires after the 2025 season. Hosmer was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox last week and a team could, in theory, add Hosmer on a minor-league deal or for the Major League minimum and then have control through the 2025 season. Hosmer has been a league-average hitter over the course of the past two seasons and his power numbers have regressed in each season. While Hosmer is a four-time Gold Glove winner at first base, his defensive metrics have been on a steady decline as well.
Outside of the fact that there would literally be no risk involved, there does not appear to be much of a point for the Cubs in adding Hosmer and the argument could be made that he would be more of a hindrance to Mervis' path to the Major League level. The Red Sox were faced with a similar position last season and that would be why he is no longer with the team.
Chicago Cubs should prefer Dominic Smith
I've been holding onto the thought exercise of Eric Hosmer or Dominic Smith for the Chicago Cubs for the past week and there could be a higher chance of reward for the Cubs if they target Smith over Hosmer. We have noted Smith's offensive struggles in our previous conversations. Still, we failed to mention Smith's success with the Mets' triple-A affiliate last season after he was demoted. Smith slashed .284/.367/.472 with a .369 wOBA and 122 wRC+ in 248 appearances with the Mets' triple-A team in 2022. With the money on Smith and Hosmer likely being the same, the former Mets' first baseman/designated hitter may be a better project for the Cubs considering there could be power to be unlocked in his swing and he is the better fielder at this point in their respective careers.
Carlos Correa and New York Mets update
Radio silence continues on the reported deal between free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa and the New York Mets. Jon Heyman of the New York Post laid out three reasons why the deal between the two sides should still be finalized but the longer this drags out without resolution, that may open the possibility for a team to sneak in like the Mets had done previously with Correa after the San Francisco Giants' flagged an issue with his physical.