Edwin Rios may force Chicago Cubs to part with Eric Hosmer

Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers
Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

When the Chicago Cubs signed veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer to a one-year deal for the league-minimum salary, there was an expectation that the signing allowed the team to have a short leash for Hosmer to begin the season. With first base prospect Matt Mervis on the doorsteps of being Major League ready, there was sense that at some point during the 2023 season, Hosmer would be waived in favor of Mervis.

Mervis was a part of the Major League roster during Spring Training but his plate appearances proved that he is still in need of some tuning in Triple-A Iowa before getting the call to Wrigley Field. Hosmer has been his prototypical self in Spring Training managing to find enough holes in the opposing team's defense to hit .267 in 45 at-bats.

While Mervis is not an imminent threat to taking first base away from Hosmer, the Cubs have started to have some discussions about potentially moving on from the veteran first baseman. These discussions have stemmed from the emergence of Edwin Rios in Spring Training.

"There was some debate about whether Ríos’ strong spring makes Hosmer redundant, especially with his lack of versatility. It never got to the point that he was actually looked at as not making the team out of spring, but the leash could be short there if he struggles out of the gate and the Cubs need a roster spot."

Sahadev Sharman via The Athletic

Rios was signed by the Cubs to a one-year deal at the start of Spring Training has hit 4 home runs, 2 doubles, and 1 triple in 51 plate appearances during Cactus League play. Rios, unlike his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a clear path to consistent playing time with the Cubs as he can handle both corner infield positions defensively.

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Whether or not Rios forces Hosmer to be come expendable will be dependent on several factors. The first factor being that Rios shows the same power that he did in Spring Training and throughout his time with the Dodgers. The other factor is that one of Nick Madrigal or Patrick Wisdom find success at third base. If that occurs, a scenario exists where one of Madrigal or Wisdom emerge as the everyday third baseman while Rios takes over responsibilities at first base.