Trading for Eric Hosmer actually wouldn’t be a terrible idea for Yankees
Before we start taking the inevitable heat for this, at least read until the end. It’s not that long. And we’ve all seen the New York Yankees make worse moves than this.
Consider Hosmer a Plan D with Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson and Anthony Rizzo representing Plans A-C. We all prefer to have things our way, but it frequently doesn’t happen, so in a lockout year, there’s no reason to think any different.
At the moment, assuming Luke Voit won’t be here in 2022, the Yankees need a first baseman. Unfortunately for the San Diego Padres, Hosmer hasn’t been what they expected after he signed an eight-year, $144 million contract heading into the 2018 season.
Now they want to get rid of him and are reportedly willing to attach a top prospect in any deal should a team take on the remainder of his contract. According to the latest buzz, the Cubs nearly pulled off a trade under those circumstances before the lockout.
And if you look at the remainder of his contract, it’s really not that bad. It also helps that he has player options for the final three years.
Eric Hosmer Contract Details
- 2022: $20 million
- 2023: $13 million (player option)
- 2024: $13 million (player option)
- 2025: $13 million (player option)
That’s a $14.75 AAV if he were to exercise every option. And since the Yankees reset the tax last year, they can afford to eat $20 million in 2022 before his salaries decrease in price. Would you really be that upset with Hosmer’s cost plus the production he brings?
He’s a former Gold Glove-caliber first baseman and just finished the 2021 season with a .269 batting average, .732 OPS, 104 OPS+, 53 runs scored, 12 homers, 65 RBI and only 99 strikeouts in 151 games. At this point in their careers, you’re looking at similar production between Hosmer and Rizzo, with Rizzo offering a bit more power and higher OBP. And what’s Rizzo going to cost? $16-$18 million AAV?
And since the Yankees’ front office loves advanced stats, look no further than Hosmer’s 2021 season. He was in the higher percentiles for average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard hit percentage, expected batting average, and strikeout percentage. But perhaps most importantly … he’s missed only 40 games since the start of 2018. He’s beyond durable.
His advanced defensive numbers provide a reason to be concerned, however. He’s accumulated -12 DRS since the start of 2016 and has a negative Ultimate Zone Rating for his career. It all pales in comparison to the aforementioned first basemen … but we also saw Rizzo’s defense take a bit of a nosedive in 2021, and we’re not sure if that’s an anomaly or the beginning of a trend.
All we’re trying to say? If you can get Hosmer AND a top-five prospect to inherit the veteran’s four-year, $59 million contract for essentially nothing, it’ll fill a need for the Yankees and help them replenish the top levels of their farm system if they use their depth to trade for someone else.
We’re not advocating for this, but if the cupboard is bare post-lockout, this option will likely be on the table, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to acquire a lefty hitter who could take advantage of the short porch since he pulls most of his power shots.