As fully expected, Boston Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer has opted into the remaining three years on his contract. This move puts Boston on the hook for the remaining $39 million on his deal, but this is offset by the money that the Padres sent over in the trade deadline move that brought Hosmer to the Red Sox in July.
This has caused some frustration within the fan base, as the first baseman is looked at as being past his prime and not close to a solution for the team’s need for a designated hitter. However, Hosmer holds more value than most are giving him credit for, and that needs to be addressed.
What are the Positives of Eric Hosmer opting in for the Red Sox?
He is still a solid player at the Major League level, especially if given a reduced role and favorable matchups, and could allow for room to ease in Tristan Casas to an everyday role. This value is amplified if he is looked at as a temporary fix to the first base/designated hitter hole, as it frees up more money to delegate towards a deal with Xander Bogaerts or an extension with Rafael Devers.
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He also has more trade potential than many are giving him credit for. Assuming the Red Sox would send the Padres money to a team that trades for Hosmer, the value of an above-average first baseman with name recognition for a league-minimum salary is extremely high. This could fetch a solid prospect or a strong bullpen arm, the latter of which would be a huge benefit to the Red Sox given the unit’s struggles in the 2022 season.
What are the Negatives of Eric Hosmer opting in for the Red Sox?
The big “if” regarding Hosmer is that he has a full no-trade clause. This does not mean he can’t be traded, but it means he has final say over where he goes. It also means he must be willing to leave, which could be less appealing given the fact that his wife used to work for NESN and the couple could have an affinity for the area.
If Hosmer does well, this would be less of a problem, but if he struggles it could be frustrating. Hosmer’s statistics have trended downward since his Kansas City days, so a dip in production could turn an above average player into a mediocre one quickly.
It’s also worth noting that Hosmer could pick up relief from Casas in year one, but by the second and third seasons the team will clearly want its young, blue-chip prospect to be an everyday starter. Hosmer’s value may be now or never, and that does hamper the flexibility that appears to best asset he has.
Overall, this is a rather inconsequential move and how it impacts the team will have to be decided by the front office. A mentor for a young prospect like Casas has a lot of value, but how much value is enough to justify keeping a player like Hosmer?