MLB News

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

MLB rumors: Dom Smith stays in Mets' division with Nationals deal; Twins eyeing Michael Wacha

The Major League Baseball offseason slogs along as it is now Jan. 3. We have a Hall of Fame announcement coming later this month (we covered A-Rod today, for those interested). The Carlos Correa situation remains in limbo. Rafael Devers and the Red Sox avoided arbitration, though it ultimately doesn’t move the needle much on extension talks

As for the rest, let’s round up the rumors for the day. 

Cubs close to deal with Hosmer

The Chicago Cubs and veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer are closing in on a contract, 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 across parts of 12 MLB seasons. He’ll likely be the primary first baseman for the Cubs, perhaps in a platoon arrangement with Patrick Wisdom. 

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

Nationals add former divisional foe

The Nationals have signed former Mets first baseman Dom Smith to a one-year, $2 million deal, reports Robert Murray. Smith is now 27 and was once a top-100 (as high as 51st, depending on where you looked) prospect, 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. It looked like he was establishing himself as a very good big-league hitter. clubbing 21 home runs with 31 doubles and 67 RBI to what amounted to around 2/3 of a full big-league season of plate appearances. In the past 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, it’s worth a shot. He’s not old and has shown he can hit MLB pitching in spurts. They didn’t really have a first baseman for 2023, either. They now look to have the likes of Smith, Jeimer Candelario, Keibert Ruiz and Joey Meneses through the 3-6 spots of the lineup in some order. 

Twins connected to 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…

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