MLB rumors: Dom Smith stays in Mets division with Nationals contract; Eric Hosmer to first base for Cubs

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The Major League Baseball offseason will continue as it is now on January 3rd. We have an announcement from the Hall of Fame coming later this month (We covered A-Rod today, for those interested). Carlos Correa’s situation remains in limbo. Rafael Devers and the Red Sox avoided a settlement, however in the end it won’t move the needle much on extension talks.

As for the rest, we’ll round up the rumors for the day.

Cubs close to dealing Hosmer

The Chicago Cubs and first baseman Eric Hosmer are closing in on a deal, Jon Heyman reports.

Hosmer, 33, is coming off a 2022 season in which he slashed .268/.334/.382 (108 OPS+) with eight home runs in 108 games for the Padres and Red Sox. For his career, Hosmer, a one-time All-Star, owns an OPS+ of 108 over parts of 12 MLB seasons. He is likely to be the first baseman for the Cubs, possibly in a platoon arrangement with Patrick Wisdom.

Hosmer was designated for assignment by the Red Sox in December even though he has three years left on his contract. However, the Padres will cover most of the $39 million owed to Hosmer through 2025.

Nationalists send their former enemy

The Nationals have signed Mets first baseman Dom Smith to a one-year, $2 million contract. reports Robert Murray. Smith is now 27 and was once a top prospect (as high as 51st, depending on where you looked), but his stock has seen better days.

In 197 plate appearances in 2019, Smith hit .282/.355/.525 (132 OPS+) and then slashed .316/.377/.616 (168 OPS+) in 199 PAs in 2020. He seemed to be establishing himself as a very good big league hitter. clubbing 21 home runs with 31 doubles and 67 RBI to what was about 2/3 of a season full of big league plate appearances. In the last two seasons combined, however, Smith hit .233/.298/.345 (78 OPS+) with just 11 home runs in a much higher sample of 645 plate appearances.

In the Nationals’ situation, he’s worth a shot. He’s not old and has shown he can hit MLB in spurts. They didn’t have a first baseman for 2023, either. They are now looking to get the likes of Smith, Jeimer Candelario, Keibert Ruiz and Joey Meneses through the 3-6 spots in the lineup in some order.

Couple connected with Wacha

The Twins have “expressed interest” in free agent starting pitcher Michael Wacha, according to The Athletic.

Wacha struggled in 2019 and, frankly, was terrible in 2020 and 2021. Last year with the Red Sox, however, he went 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA (127 ERA+), 1.12 WHIP and 104 strikeouts against 31 walks in 127 1/3 innings. He even threw his first complete game since 2017 with his second career shutout.

The current Twins rotation includes Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda and Bailey Ober. It would take from then to give Wacha a look toward the back of a rotation like this.

Orioles make a small deal

The Orioles have traded for first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn with cash considerations going back to the Royals, reports MASN Sports.

O’Hearn, 29, has hit .219/.293/.390 (83 OPS+) with -2.8 career WAR over five seasons, all with the Royals. He only played the corner outfield and first in the majors.

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