This offseason the Brewers have been very active in the trade market. They have not been involved in free agency. Typically, Milwaukee likes to navigate free agency by making low risk deals. This means avoiding multi year contracts and banking on players outperforming their contract in order to secure them a better deal in the future. One player the Brewers could consider that fits this mold is the recently DFA’d Eric Hosmer.
It has been quite the past six months for the left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman. Hosmer started 2022 off as a member of the Padres. The team was openly shopping him for he had not been living up to his eight year, $144MM contract. However, he did have a limited no-trade clause.
In July, he was initially included in the Juan Soto and Josh Bell package. After declining to be a part of that trade, he was quickly dealt to the Boston Red Sox instead. With being traded, his limited no-trade clause turned into a full no-trade clause. Additionally, the Padres agreed to pay out the remainder of his salary and his new team would pay the league minimum.
After a brief 14 game stint in Boston, he has been DFA’d. The Red Sox now have one week to trade him, but this seems unlikely given his full no-trade clause. He could also be claimed on waivers, but he can turn down any claim. It seems likely that the 33 year old will hit the free agent market.
Should the Brewers pursue recently DFA’d Eric Hosmer once he becomes a free agent?
With the Padres still responsible for paying off his eight year contract, he has to be signed for the league minimum salary. This will provide a team with the opportunity to acquire him for virtually no risk. He would have to be added to the 40-man roster, in which the Brewers roster is currently full.
Throughout his career, Hosmer has a 108 OPS+. He has consistently been slightly better than a league average first baseman throughout his career. His power numbers have dipped significantly over the years, but he can still hit for a decent batting average.
In terms of fit on the team, the Brewers do have left-handed swinging Rowdy Tellez and Jon Singleton on their 40-man roster. Both of these players can play first base as well. It is hard to imagine the Brewers carrying three left-handed first basemen, which could leave Singleton as the odd man out for he is not an established big league player.
Playing time wise, with the addition of the designated hitter, Hosmer could get plenty of at-bats with the Brewers. Adding him could mean more outfield playing time for Jesse Winker, but if improving the offense is a priority over defense, then the move makes sense. This strategy worked for the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies last year.
Milwaukee tends to be a hitter friendly park to left-handed hitting batters. Combining that and having him on a league minimum salary makes him an intriguing option for Matt Arnold to consider.