The Padres and Cubs were in talks last summer over a trade that would have sent a first baseman Eric hosmer “And a much appreciated prospect” in Chicago, Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports. The return to the Cubs’ side was not mentioned, but it probably could have been quite minimal (i.e. taking Hosmer’s contract off the books. However, since Antoine Rizzo Also apparently on the Padres’ trade radar, it’s possible the two teams discussed a first baseman swap.
Hosmer was known to be available ahead of the trade deadline, as the Padres explored ways to both reduce their luxury tax burdens in 2021 and into the future, and also create payroll space for some ticket additions. more important. In the end, San Diego couldn’t find a taker for Hosmer, nor did they manage to land targets like Rizzo, Max Scherzer and Jose berrios before the deadline. While the Padres have acquired tastes Adam frazier and Daniel hudson, that wasn’t enough to withstand a late-season meltdown as the Friars fell to a 79-83 record.
Moreover, the Padres also ended up exceeding the luxury tax threshold for the first time in club history. Although final figures have yet to be released (and estimates for both Baby Crib Baseball Contracts and List resource actually had the Padres a little off the tax line), San Diego’s Competitive Balance Tax number is expected to actually exceed the $ 210 million mark. The penalty for a first payer is only a 20 percent surcharge on the excess, so since the Padres haven’t exceeded the threshold too much, their financial cost will be fairly minimal. For example, if they exceeded the CBT line by $ 2 million, the team would have a tax bill of $ 400,000.
Given that the Padres are already expected to be very close to the $ 210 million mark for their 2022 spending, an additional penalty might be difficult to avoid, with the obvious caveat that the CBT system could be changed under the new collective agreement. In the short term, however, overshooting the luxury tax line has already caused some difficulty for the Padres’ offseason activity. They would have to give up two 2022 draft picks (their second and fifth-highest caps) and $ 1million in international draft pool money in order to sign a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer, and San Diego is said to have already. expressed interest. in one of these free agents QO in Nick castellanos.
Assuming some form of luxury tax continues to exist in the next collective agreement, even at a much higher threshold, the Padres would likely prefer to get rid of Hosmer’s contract just to reduce their chances of a repeat offense. Hosmer has a tax number of $ 18 million per season (the average annual value of his eight-year contract and $ 144 million), although his actual salary figures will drop when his contract ends. Hosmer owes him $ 59 million in campaign 2025, breaking down into $ 20 million in 2022 and then salaries of $ 13 million for each of the 2023-25 ââseasons.
That contract wouldn’t be a problem if Hosmer was still hitting, and yet the veteran only hit .264 / .323 / .415 (99 wRC +, 102 OPS +) in his four seasons at San Diego. Along with a strong performance in 156 home plate appearances in the shortened 2020 season, Hosmer has barely been a replacement with the Padres, and he might not even be a regular starting option in the future given his playing time was cut amid his struggles.
The Cubs were primarily focused on selling in July, unloading veteran talent like Rizzo, Kris bryant, Javier Baez, Craig kimbrel, Joc pederson, and others. Additionally, the Cubs surged in pay cuts nearly a year ago as part of another major deal with the Padres, as Yu darvish was distributed in San Diego. All of these moves have dramatically reduced Chicago’s future payroll liabilities, yet recent acquisitions of Marcus Stroman and Wade miley indicate that the Cubs are not planning a complete rebuild. Despite Hosmer’s lack of recent production, the Cubs might see him as a candidate for a change of scenery, or perhaps a left-handed addition to Frank Schwindel for basic functions (and maybe DH).
The real prize for Chicago would still be the prospect (s) the Padres were to include in a trade with Hosmer. While San Diego still has a strong farming system, their depth in the minor leagues has been undermined to some extent due to other deals and some prospects who have now risen to bigger roles in the big league roster. In talks with the Rangers over a transaction involving Hosmer and Joey gallo last July, the hope of the Padres field Robert Hassell III was reportedly proposed as a candidate to change teams, although it is not known whether the Cubs would also target Hassell.
It’s worth noting that Hosmer himself also has some leverage in the form of a ten-team no-trade clause. The Cubs weren’t among the ten teams on Hosmer’s 2021 roster, and yet, since he may change that roster every year, he could very well adjust his trade protection to include the Cubs, Rangers or any other club. that the Hosmer suspects could be a potential business partner. That doesn’t mean Hosmer wouldn’t necessarily appreciate a departure from the Padres, but he would at least give himself some measure of control over his future. Hosmer also gets all non-trade rights as player 10 and 5 after the 2022 season, so this is the last year for the Padres to move Hosmer even somewhat freely.