Eric Hosmer’s contract with the Padres contained a limited no-trade clause, one which became a central topic for a few hours on the day of the deadline. Initially reported to be included in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell swap as a means of offsetting salary, Hosmer used his no-trade rights to block a move to a last-place Washington club.
The Friars and Nats went through with the Soto swap, subbing in Luke Voit instead. San Diego then pivoted and dealt Hosmer to the Red Sox — a team that was not on his no-trade list — along with minor leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson for pitching prospect Jay Groome. As part of that swap, San Diego agreed to pay down all the remaining money on Hosmer’s contract minus the league minimum.
Hosmer still has three years and $39MM remaining on that deal, as he’ll certainly bypass the chance to opt out and retest free agency this winter. For the next trio of seasons, he’ll also have complete no-trade protection. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports that Hosmer’s contract contains a stipulation that he’d receive a full no-trade clause if San Diego traded him. The move to Boston triggered that provision, giving Hosmer control over any future movement.
While it was hard for the Padres to find a taker for the 12-year veteran on his $144MM deal, a trade from Boston isn’t difficult to envision. With the Red Sox not responsible for any notable chunk of money, they could market Hosmer to other teams for virtually no financial penalty. Boston still would not receive an immense return in that scenario, but he’d be a plausible buy-low candidate for a team seeking a left-handed bat.
Hosmer hit .268/.334/.382 across 419 plate appearances this season. While he was actually far better against left-handed pitching than righties in a small sample this year, he has more typical platoon splits over a multi-year span. Dating back to the start of 2020, he owns a .270/.346/.414 line while holding the platoon advantage. With San Diego on the hook for the salary, Hosmer’s solid bat against right-handed pitching and strong clubhouse reputation could have some appeal on the trade market.
The Red Sox figure to be open to parting with the 32-year-old, as Boston broke in top prospect Triston Casas late in the season. Baseball America’s #19 prospect entering the year, Casas hit .273/.382/.481 across 317 plate appearances at Triple-A Worcester to earn an MLB call in September. While he only hit .197 in his first 27 MLB games, the former first-rounder slugged five home runs and took 19 walks against 23 strikeouts. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom praised Casas’ plate discipline last week (link via Christopher Smith of MassLive) and conceded he “(doesn’t) know yet” whether Boston would be prepared to devote active roster spots to both Hosmer and Casas. Each hits left-handed and is limited to first base or designated hitter. While the Sox will see DH J.D. Martinez hit free agency, they could certainly retain Martinez or bring in another bat in an effort to bolster a lineup that was a hair better than average this season.
Boston’s limited financial commitments to Hosmer mean they presumably wouldn’t have any qualms about releasing him if they felt they were squeezed for flexibility by carrying multiple first basemen. It stands to reason they’d prefer to trade him for even a modest return than release him altogether if it came to that, but the revelation that Hosmer can block any deal adds a wrinkle to that potential scenario, although it’s certainly one of which the Boston front office was aware at the time they acquired him.
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