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Monday, December 13, 2021

Cubs, Padres Discussed Eric Hosmer Trade Last Summer

The Padres and Cubs were in talks last summer about a trade that would have sent first baseman Eric Hosmer “and a highly regarded prospect” to Chicago, The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports.  The return on the Cubs’ end wasn’t mentioned, yet it likely could have been pretty minimal (i.e. a low-level prospect or a player to be named later), since the chief goal of the trade for San Diego would have been to get Hosmer’s contract off the books.  However, since Anthony Rizzo also reportedly on the Padres’ trade radar, it is possible the two teams might have been discussing a swap of first basemen.

Hosmer was known to be available prior to the trade deadline, as the Padres were exploring ways to both lessen their luxury tax burdens in 2021 and in the future, and also create payroll space for some bigger-ticket additions.  As it turned out, San Diego didn’t find a taker for Hosmer, and they also fell short of landing such targets as Rizzo, Max Scherzer and Jose Berrios prior to the deadline.  While the Padres did acquire the likes of Adam Frazier and Daniel Hudson, that wasn’t enough to hold off a late-season collapse, as the Friars plummeted to a 79-83 record.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2021 at 12:36 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, eric hosmer, padres

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6057219)
Let's see ... from this point, Hosmer is owed 4/$60. How good does a prospect need to be to be worth $60 M? The Cubs of course would get some value out of Hosmer but probably not a lot -- call it $50 M for the prospect. Now if Rizzo goes the other way, it's not a particularly big deal -- rates the return for Rizzo as the Cubs' current #16 and #19 prospects. Alcantara is only 19 so we can expect him to move up the list while Vizcaino is 24, hasn't pitched above A+, has been hurt and pitched poorly in 20 IP last year. So what sort of prospect do you get for $50 M plus Kevin Alcantara? (I'm genuinely asking what the going price is cuz I don't know.)
   2. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:42 PM (#6057249)
Surely no one will take Hosmer unless SDP puts in some money? say half?
   3. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6057354)
Surely no one will take Hosmer unless SDP puts in some money? say half?
He is a 0 WAR player at 1B. I don’t think half is going to be enough. IMO, they would need to package him with CJ Abrams to get real interest.
   4. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6057358) rates the return for Rizzo as the Cubs' current #16 and #19 prospects

FWIW, Fangraphs has them as the Cubs #2 and #10.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#6057506)
#4 ... yeah I saw that. Let's hope they're right. But his "FV" is still just 50 which is "average MLer for first 6 years."

Their write-ups are a reminder of how empty scout speak can be. Alcantara is expected to develop "elite" power; he has "one of the highest ceilings of any prospect his age." But still projects to average ML production. #4 James Triantos, just 18.5 years old, "swings with ferocity", "vaporizes mistakes", has a "very exciting hit/power combination" and will likely "rocket" through the low minors because he's "dangerous in the box." After all of that breathlessness, it's still a (probably optimistic) FV of 50 and they say that, if he doesn't learn to walk, he'll probably be in the range of Kyle Farmer (turning 30, career OPS+ 80, 1.8 WAR/-1.2 WAA) to Josh Harrison (average hitter but just a 127 ISO).

To be clear, "average" and Kyle Farmer and certainly Josh Harrison are all "very good" outcomes for a prospect, well above-average return. It's the breathless terminology I could do without. I don't expect scouts to have a crystal ball, in fact I'm confident that even God couldn't be more specific at Triantos than "somewhere between no ML PAs and 40 WAR." I'd just prefer "hit rookie league pitching like Kyle Farmer did" rather than "vaporizes."

I've let my stathead subscription lapse but a couple of months ago, I looked at a few debut years and then number of those players who reached 8 WAR in their first 7 "seasons" or so. If somebody wants to re-run that, it would be great because I don't remember how many it was per year. But it wasn't a lot. An FV of 50 seems to suggest these folks will put up about 12 WAR during their pre-FA period -- I'm not sure that's more than 10 guys a year much less that the Cubs have 5-6 of them in their system right now. If FV=50 means "this player has a 50% chance of reaching this level" then it's 3 guys and that's not unrealistic. The Cubs' "problem" is that #2 through 6 are all under 19.5 years old and so likely at least 3 years away from fulfilling their ML average-ness. What we hope of course is that at least one of them turns into a 70 over the next 1-2 years.

Fangraphs being fangraphs, I assume that somewhere they have evaluated how accurate their FV scale has been. Anybody got a link?
   6. Walt Davis Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6057508)
Cubs ZiPS are out. Better than I'd have thought but not good. Wisdom looks good (2 WAR but just over 400 PA), Ortega looks average while ZiPS is not high on Schwindel and considers Clint Frazier a waste of time. Brennen Davis not ready yet by their projection -- top comp Carmelo Martinez! The rotation looks fine with Stroman, Miley, Hendricks and a lot of bodies for the last 2 spots. The bullpen looks scary bad -- Heuer and Wick are the only ones who project as decent.

So most days we should be able to roll out a lineup with 4-5 decent hitters, about half the time we'll have a good starter on the mound and then the game will go to hell in the 7th.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6057511)
#2: nobody is considering a baseball trade of Hosmer. But it is just 4/$60 at this point as the contract was front-loaded -- so for 2023-25, he's paid like an average 1B. Now that's still well overpaid so all anybody is talking about is a salary relief trade where the Padres give up something to convince another team to pay all/some of Hosmer's remaining contract. The Cubs are a rich team with a low payroll so are well positioned to make such trades as long as they are getting a good prospect in the deal. Unfortunately for the Padres, they didn't get this done before the Cubs took a chance on the immortal Frank Schwindel who put up a 1000 OPS in his 239 PA. He'll turn into Hosmer or worse soon enough probably but we are only now interested in somebody's salary dump SS or CF.

#3: It's unfair to call him replacement level. He'll be there soon enough but he's been a consistent 1-WAR player. He's a poor man's Mitch Moreland who was paid like a poor man's Chris Davis -- not a good combo but a better combo than the actual Chris Davis! While nobody pursues a player of Hosmer's quality and despite our continuing belief that the minors are filled with non-embarrassing 1Bs, there are always guys like Hosmer, Moreland, Mark Reynolds finding jobs in their early 30s. The mistake isn't employing Hosmer now, it was giving him a nice, 8-year contract 4 years ago.
   8. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: December 16, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6057591)
fWAR for Hosmer:

2018 -.1
2020  .9
2021  .0 

That looks like a replacement player to me. bWAR likes him a little better, but not enough to matter much.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 16, 2021 at 06:49 PM (#6057644)
Their write-ups are a reminder of how empty scout speak can be.
Yeah, that bugs me too. Please, stop with the "long levers" and "he's a very physical 19-year-old." And let's not even talk about using "hitterish," which they actually did.
   10. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 16, 2021 at 07:35 PM (#6057650)
The Cubs are a rich team with a low payroll so are well positioned to make such trades as long as they are getting a good prospect in the deal.

But is that any more economically efficient that simply going straight to the free agent market? You havent mentioned this but isnt it imperative to first look at the cost of that before picking up some dead weight like HOsmer?

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