It’s been known, or at least reported publicly, that the Cubs have signed first baseman Eric Hosmer as a free agent.
Since Hosmer was granted his unconditional release by the Red Sox December 22, the Cubs will pay him only the minimum salary of $720,000, with the rest of the $13 million he’s owed this year paid by the Padres, who signed him to an eight-year, $144 million deal before the 2018 season.
Now think about that for a moment. Any time you want to bring up the Cubs’ contract with Jason Heyward as a bad deal, just refer to Hosmer’s deal, which is one of the worst of the last decade, at least.
Anyway — Hosmer will be a Cub this year, but the team has not yet officially announced the deal, as the 40-man roster is full.
Thus someone will have to be removed from said roster. I am guessing that Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer is trying to time such a removal so he can run a player through waivers without losing him.
Here are a few thoughts about who such a player could be.
The Cubs claimed Kay on waivers from the Blue Jays December 23. He pitched in just four games for Toronto last year, spending most of the year on the injured list.
From 2019-21 Kay made 27 appearances for the Jays (seven starts) and posted a 5.50 ERA and 1.631 WHIP. These are not good numbers, but Kay is lefthanded and I suppose the Cubs figure they can get him in the Pitch Lab and fix whatever’s wrong.
He turns 28 in March. If the Cubs could get him through waivers he could start the year at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs acquired Mastrobuoni from the Rays in November for minor-leaguer Alfredo Zárraga. Mastrobuoni went 3-for-16 in eight games for the Rays in 2022, but hit .300/.377/.469 with 16 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 129 games for Triple-A Durham last year.
He’s mostly a second baseman, but has played shortstop, third base and outfield in the Rays system.
He’s 27 and the Cubs have another similar player, Zach McKinstry, on the 40-man roster. Both Mastrobuoni and McKinstry bat lefthanded.
Rucker’s mostly-unimpressive MLB numbers: 61 games in 2021-22, all in relief, 4.99 ERA, 1.361 WHIP.
However! After returning from a stint at Iowa at the beginning of August, Rucker made 26 appearances, posting a 2.93 ERA and 1.174 WHIP and held opponents to a .212 BA. Those numbers would play for a decent MLB middle reliever.
So Rucker, who turns 29 in April, could be useful to the Cubs this year. On the other hand, there are a fair number of guys like this around baseball and maybe the Cubs could get him to clear waivers.
So who’s going to go? One of these three, or someone else, or will the Cubs make a trade to open up a 40-man spot?
Who will be dropped from the Cubs’ 40-man roster to make room for Eric Hosmer?
This poll is closed
The Cubs will make a trade to open up a spot
Someone else (leave in comments)