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As Eric Hosmer moves on from ‘crazy situation,’ he hopes to hit reset button with Cubs

11 months agoTony Andracki

Eric Hosmer didn’t expect to be here.

The last seven months have been an interesting and unpredictable ride for the veteran first baseman.

Hosmer signed an 8-year, $144 million deal with the San Diego Padres before the 2018 season. It was supposed to keep him in Southern California through 2025, but he found himself as a central name in the Juan Soto trade rumors last summer.

Hosmer had a limited no-trade clause in his contract so he was able to veto a deal that would send him to Washington in the Soto trade. Instead, he was later dealt to Boston.

He wound up playing just 14 games for the Red Sox due to a back injury. Boston then designated him for assignment in mid-December and, after the team was unable to find a trade partner, released Hosmer just before Christmas.

Now he’s on the Cubs, looking for a fresh start.

“You learn a lot,” Hosmer said shortly after he was introduced to the fanbase at Cubs Convention last weekend. “It was a crazy situation when you really don’t expect to get traded and then you get traded. … Then getting released and picked up over here, it’s kind of like a new life.”

Hosmer hopes the change of scenery can help rejuvenate his career.

“Yeah, maybe [I needed a mental reset],” Hosmer admitted. “Maybe it’s a good thing. I didn’t play much baseball in the second half of last year. I was hurt in Boston and carried that into the offseason.

“That’s a good reset for me and now to parlay that into signing here in Chicago, that’s enough motivation as you can have. I’m definitely ready to go.”

Hosmer is coming to the Cubs with a World Series ring (2015 Royals), 4 Gold Gloves, an All-Star appearance in 2016 (in which he was named the MVP of the game), a Silver Slugger and 12 years of big-league experience, including 3 separate trips to the postseason.

He hopes that a team-first mindset will help him get on track individually.

“I think it’s gonna be good,” Hosmer said. “It’s a lot of good veterans that they signed. A lot of good young guys that have good energy that come up.

“Get to mix in with these guys, get to share some knowledge with them and at the same time, as you’re sharing that knowledge, you’re kind of hearing it yourself so it kinda brings you back and keeps stuff simple for you.”

Hosmer’s power has fallen off a bit over the last couple of years (20 homers since the start of the 2021 season) but his on-base percentage (.336) and overall offensive production (106 OPS+) have been right in line with his career marks.

And since the Padres are still paying his contract, the Cubs were able to sign Hosmer for the league minimum ($720,000), taking a low-risk gamble on the 33-year-old.

The Cubs made the Trey Mancini signing official Friday morning and the pair of veterans will form a platoon at first base and DH to start the 2022 campaign.

The left-handed Hosmer is expected to play every day against right-handed pitching, Jed Hoyer acknowledged Saturday.

“We’ll see how he does,” Hoyer said. “He’s got a great reputation as a clubhouse guy. He’s had a really impressive career. And I think getting him at a time when he’s coming out of a situation that obviously they tried to trade him for quite a while on that contract.

“I think this is a fresh start for him. I know he’s excited about it and I think he can really do a lot of good things for us.”


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