The Cubs have released Eric Hosmer, according to the veteran first baseman’s MLB.com profile page. Hosmer was designated for assignment last week, and now that he has gone unclaimed on waivers, he’ll return to the open market in the aftermath of the release.
It wasn’t an unexpected outcome given Hosmer’s underwhelming performance this season, as he hit .234/.280/.330 with two home runs over an even 100 plate appearances. The Cubs signed Hosmer to a one-year deal this past offseason hoping for a bounce-back in a best-case scenario, but more realistically viewing him as something of a placeholder until Matt Mervis was ready for a regular dose of first base duty in the majors. With Trey Mancini also getting a lot of action at first base and Patrick Wisdom able to play the position, Chicago didn’t even have room for Hosmer as a veteran complement.
Signing Hosmer came with essentially no financial cost to the Cubs, who owed him just a Major League minimum salary ($720K). As per the terms of his eight-year, $144MM deal signed with the Padres during the 2017-18 offseason, Hosmer is still owed $13MM in each of the 2023, 2024, and 2025 seasons, and San Diego is still responsible for the vast majority of that money. Should another club sign Hosmer to a new contract, that new team will again just have to pay a prorated minimum salary, with the Padres footing the rest of the $13MM bill for 2023.
Given this low-risk salary situation, it’s possible a team in need of first base help, left-handed hitting depth, or clubhouse leadership might explore bringing Hosmer aboard. However, it has been some time since Hosmer has been a truly productive member of a roster, as the 33-year-old has hit only .263/.323/.406 since the start of the 2018 season (or, when he joined the Padres in the first place). Those offensive numbers translate to just a 98 wRC+, and Hosmer’s overall value is -0.1 fWAR in the last five-plus seasons.