The Chicago Cubs and first baseman Eric Hosmer are reportedly closing in on a contract agreement.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the news, which comes two weeks after Hosmer was released by the Boston Red Sox.
Boston's decision to DFA Hosmer was a bit of a surprise given the almost nonexistent financial investment necessary to keep him on the roster. Under terms of a trade with the San Diego Padres completed last season, the Red Sox were only on the hook for $2.2 million over the next three years. The Padres will pay Hosmer $36.8 million over the same timeframe.
While the eight-year, $144 million contract Hosmer signed with the Padres in 2018 was a massive bust, he's still a quality platoon player who could have helped Boston in 2023. He's provided at least one WAR over the last three seasons, which translates to a free-agent worth of somewhere in the $8-9 million range.
Top prospect Triston Casas is set to start at first base for Boston next season, so releasing Hosmer may have simply been a courtesy to allow him to hit the open market and find a better situation. That said, it's a questionable call from a purely analytical standpoint.
The Cubs do not have an obvious starter for Opening Day at the first base position, so Hosmer slotting in would make some amount of sense. Chicago remains in a rebuilding phase but has made a few roster moves—signing Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon—indicating some commitment to winning next season.
Hosmer could be the latest vet to join the youth-laden roster.