MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Eric Hosmer, Seattle Mariners and Carlos Rodon
Major League Baseball fans, specifically those who love hot-stove action, probably aren't enjoying the lockout's impact on the offseason. There was a thrilling flurry of free-agent signings just before the work stoppage, but the market has been necessarily silent for more than two weeks now.
Teams have been able to make minor league deals, so there has at least been something to follow in recent days. The Philadelphia Phillies, for example, recently added six pitchers on minor league contracts.
Fans looking to see notable names on the move, though. have to wait until the work stoppage is over. The silver lining here is that we should see a significant burst of activity once a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is reached.
Signings and trades are likely to pour in once the lockout is over. Here, you'll find a look at some of the latest MLB offseason buzz.
Cubs Willing to Acquire Contracts, Have Considered Eric Hosmer
The Chicago Cubs are looking to rebuild following last year's 71-91 campaign. The Cubs could be active in the trade market once it resumes, but they aren't necessarily interested in sacrificing their farm system to make a move.
According to The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma, Chicago is willing to pick up bloated contracts that other teams no longer want. Per Sharma, the Cubs tried to make a deal involving Eric Hosmer with the San Diego Padres before the trade deadline.
"The Cubs attempted such a move over the summer, discussing a deal with thethat would've netted (and the more than $60 million and three additional years on his contract) and a highly regarded prospect," Sharma wrote.
Hosmer, who batted .269 with 65 RBI last season, is a solid player but perhaps not worth his $21 million 2022 salary to the San Diego Padres. San Diego is already just under the luxury-tax threshold. Moving Hosmer would give the Padres more financial freedom post-lockout. To take on his contract, Chicago would get a prospect rather than surrendering one.
Chicago is more than $83 million below the threshold and has the financial flexibility to make a deal like this work.
"These types of deals are rare and really difficult to put together. But it's exactly what the Cubs should, and will, try to explore in their current situation. They have the money, they have the roster spots ... and they still want prospects" Sharma wrote.
Expect the Cubs to revisit Hosmer after the lockout and to examine other similar trade scenarios.
Mariners Looking to Bolster Pitching Rotation
The Seattle Mariners could take a similar approach by taking on large contracts to get players without sacrificing developmental talent. Specifically, the Mariners have their eyes on pitching help. Seattle added AL Cy Young-winner Robbie Ray just before the lockout, but it isn't finished addressing the rotation.
"Even after the addition of American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray earlier this month—a five-year deal worth $115 million—the club still has its sights set on improving the starting rotation," The Athletic's Corey Brock wrote.
The goal, it seems, is for the Mariners to avoid relying on an extended rotation in the coming season. Instead of having a sixth starter or an early-inning specialist, Seattle wants a traditional five-man rotation.
"Now that we are a full season removed from the truncated 2020 season, we feel the five-man rotation is a perfectly reasonable way to go," Mariners president Jerry Dipoto said, per Brock.
With more than $106 million in space below the threshold, Seattle could take on some undesirable contracts if necessary.
"The Mariners wouldn’t be entirely averse to taking on a bloated contract in terms of another piece in a deal if it meant preserving their prospect core," Brock wrote.
In other words, expect the Mariners to be in on most available starters—both free agents and trade options—once the market reopens.
Multiple Teams Eying Carlos Rodon
One player the Mariners are reportedly considering is Chicago White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. The seven-year veteran has dealt with repeated injury issues throughout his career but was dazzling early in the 2021 season.
While shoulder soreness limited Rodon late in the season—he pitched on 10-day rest during September—he was dominant when on the mound.
Rodon went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA, pitched a no-hitter and made his first All-Star appearance this past season.
Those injury concerns could eventually take Rodon off of Seattle's free-agent wish list—specifically, if he appears incapable of pitching every fifth game. The Mariners, however, are far from the only team eying Rodon this offseason.
According to Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald, the Mariners, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angeles are interested in taking a flier on Rodon. Per Gregor, the Cubs were also interested in Rodon but may be out after inking Marcus Stroman to a three-year, $71 million deal.
It's not hard to see why Rodon would be worth the gamble. With a solid fastball and a filthy slider, Rodon is a strikeout artist who could provide value even as a sixth starter. Expect him to draw plenty of attention when the market reopens.
*Contract and cap information via Spotrac.