The Padres and Cubs had been in talks final summer time a few commerce that will have despatched first baseman Eric Hosmer “and a extremely regarded prospect” to Chicago, The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma stories. The return on the Cubs’ finish wasn’t talked about, but it seemingly may have been fairly minimal (i.e. a low-level prospect or a participant to be named later), because the chief purpose of the commerce for San Diego would have been to get Hosmer’s contract off the books. Nevertheless, since Anthony Rizzo additionally reportedly on the Padres’ commerce radar, it’s attainable the 2 groups might need been discussing a swap of first basemen.
Hosmer was known to be obtainable previous to the commerce deadline, because the Padres had been exploring methods to each reduce their luxurious tax burdens in 2021 and sooner or later, and likewise create payroll area for some bigger-ticket additions. Because it turned out, San Diego didn’t discover a taker for Hosmer, they usually additionally fell wanting touchdown such targets as Rizzo, Max Scherzer and Jose Berrios previous to the deadline. Whereas the Padres did purchase the likes of Adam Frazier and Daniel Hudson, that wasn’t sufficient to carry off a late-season collapse, because the Friars plummeted to a 79-83 document.
As nicely, the Padres additionally ended up exceeding the luxurious tax threshold for the primary time in membership historical past. Whereas remaining figures haven’t but been launched (and estimates from each Cot’s Baseball Contracts and Roster Resource really had the Padres falling a bit wanting the tax line), the expectation is that San Diego’s Aggressive Steadiness Tax quantity did certainly high the $210MM mark. The penalty for a first-time payor is simply a 20 p.c surcharge on the overage, so because the Padres didn’t exceed the edge by an excessive amount of, their monetary price might be fairly minimal. As an example, in the event that they exceeded the CBT line by $2MM, the workforce would have a $400K tax invoice.
For the reason that Padres are already projected to take a seat very near the $210MM mark for his or her 2022 expenditures, an extra penalty may very well be tough to keep away from, with the apparent caveat that the CBT system may very well be altered underneath the brand new collective bargaining settlement. Within the quick time period, nonetheless, exceeding the luxurious tax line has already induced some difficulties for the Padres’ offseason enterprise. They’d have to give up two 2022 draft picks (their second-highest and fifth-highest picks) and $1MM of worldwide draft pool cash with a purpose to signal a free agent who rejected a qualifying provide, and San Diego has already reportedly shown interest in a single such QO free agent in Nick Castellanos.
Assuming some type of the luxurious tax continues to exist within the subsequent CBA, even at a a lot increased threshold, the Padres would in all probability favor to rid themselves of Hosmer’s contract simply to minimize their possibilities of a repeater penalty. Hosmer has a tax variety of $18MM per season (the common annual worth of his eight-year, $144MM deal), regardless that his precise wage figures will drop on the again finish of his deal. Hosmer has $59MM owed to him by way of the 2025 marketing campaign, breaking down as $20MM in 2022, after which $13MM salaries in every of the 2023-25 seasons.
This contract wouldn’t be an issue if Hosmer was nonetheless hitting, and but the veteran has batted solely .264/.323/.415 (99 wRC+, 102 OPS+) over his 4 seasons in San Diego. Aside from a robust efficiency over 156 plate appearances within the shortened 2020 season, Hosmer has been barely a replacement-level participant with the Padres, and he might not even be a daily beginning possibility going ahead contemplating that his enjoying time was diminished amidst his struggles.
The Cubs had been primarily targeted on promoting again in July, unloading such veteran abilities as Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Craig Kimbrel, Joc Pederson, and others. Plus, the Cubs obtained a soar on the wage cuts virtually a yr in the past in one other main take care of the Padres, as Yu Darvish was dealt to San Diego. All of those strikes significantly diminished Chicago’s future wage commitments, and but the current acquisitions of Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley point out that the Cubs aren’t planning a full rebuild. Regardless of Hosmer’s lack of current manufacturing, the Cubs may see him as a change-of-scenery candidate, or probably as a left-handed complement to Frank Schwindel for first base (and possibly DH) duties.
The true prize for Chicago would nonetheless be no matter prospect or prospects the Padres had been to incorporate in a Hosmer commerce. Whereas San Diego nonetheless has a robust farm system, their minor league depth has been sapped to some extent as a result of different offers, and a few prospects which have now graduated to bigger roles on the large league roster. In talks with the Rangers a few commerce involving Hosmer and Joey Gallo final July, Padres outfield prospect Robert Hassell III was reportedly floated as a candidate to vary groups, although it isn’t identified if the Cubs would even be concentrating on Hassell.
It’s value noting that Hosmer himself additionally has some leverage within the type of a ten-team no-trade clause. The Cubs weren’t one of many ten groups on Hosmer’s 2021 checklist, and but since he can change that checklist yearly, he may very nicely regulate his no-trade safety to incorporate the Cubs, Rangers, or every other membership Hosmer suspects may very well be a possible commerce companion. This doesn’t imply that Hosmer wouldn’t essentially welcome a transfer away from the Padres, however he would no less than give himself some measure of management over his future. Hosmer additionally positive factors full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 participant following the 2022 season, so that is the final yr for the Padres to maneuver Hosmer even considerably freely.