CHICAGO — Eric Hosmer arrived on the Cubs Convention this weekend because the Cubs’ new veteran first baseman, sporting a pointy Cubbie blue blazer. Prospect Matt Mervis made his method across the Sheraton Grand Chicago, the place followers lined as much as get the autograph of the primary baseman of the longer term.
And on Saturday evening, as Cubs followers have been toasting the approaching season with someday left within the conference, information broke that first baseman Trey Mancini was additionally within the North Siders’ plans. A supply informed MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that Mancini has agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs, pending a bodily.
The Cubs didn’t verify the deal, which incorporates an opt-out after the 2023 season, in keeping with Feinsand. The monetary side of the contract was additionally not instantly recognized.
Earlier Saturday on the Cubs Convention, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer famous that the lefty-swinging Hosmer can be “taking part in daily in opposition to right-handed pitching.” That left the likelihood open for a platoon state of affairs with a right-handed hitter. Mancini matches that mould.
Hosmer mentioned “all the pieces” in regards to the Cubs’ state of affairs was interesting.
“It’s only a younger, energetic group,” Hosmer mentioned. “From the opposite facet trying in, you see the expertise, you see the blokes who’re on the way in which up and a few of the indicators they’ve made.”
Prior to Hosmer coming over on a league-minimum deal — San Diego is on the hook for the rest of his earlier contract that runs by 2025 — the Cubs signed free brokers Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon, amongst others.
“It simply looks as if a very good group and it looks as if a division that is huge open,” Hosmer mentioned. “And that these guys might have a very good likelihood. And I’m glad to be part of it.”
Hoyer believes there might be an actual “change of surroundings component” to Hosmer’s state of affairs.
“In San Diego, he went there, he signed an enormous contract,” Hoyer mentioned. “He had a number of good years, however clearly it did not go as they hoped and so they moved on. And that wasn’t essentially the most snug surroundings as that occurred. And I believe that getting him into our surroundings, I believe there’s good years left.”
Mancini — named the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2021 following a comeback from Stage 3 colon most cancers — is coming off a stable ’22 exhibiting between the Orioles and Astros. He belted 18 homers with 63 RBIs, however struggled (.622 OPS) following a midseason commerce to Houston.
Mancini’s finest season got here in 2019, when he had 35 homers and an .899 OPS in a breakout exhibiting for Baltimore. Over the course of his profession, he has posted remarkably even splits in opposition to righties (.265/.330/.456) and lefties (.266/.331/.459).
Hosmer has 4 Gold Glove Awards, however the superior defensive metrics haven’t been type to him lately. At the plate, he had reverse splits in 2022 (.773 OPS vs. lefties, in comparison with a .693 OPS vs. righties), however he has finished higher in opposition to right-handers (.810 OPS) than southpaws (.668 OPS) in his profession.
In the sphere, the 30-year-old Mancini has expertise in each nook outfield spots as effectively, however the match with the Cubs can be at first base, the place he has been a plus defender. Patrick Wisdom also can play first and get at-bats as a delegated hitter, however he also can stick at third with Mancini aboard.
Adding Mancini to the primary base and DH image may additionally imply Mervis’ most certainly vacation spot come Opening Day is Triple-A Iowa. Last yr, the 24-year-old Mervis hit .309 with 36 homers, 119 RBIs and a .984 OPS as he climbed by High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.
Prior to including Hosmer and Mancini, Mervis (No. 21 on Pipeline’s Top 30 Cubs prospects checklist) regarded to have an actual path to Chicago’s Opening Day roster. Now, the Cubs might take a extra typical growth method for a participant who just isn’t at the moment on the 40-man roster.
“I’m not going to place any additional strain on myself attempting to make the workforce by having an important recreation in Spring Training,” Mervis mentioned. “Those guys are smarter than that. They’re not going to see me hit a house run or no matter and say, ‘Yeah, he is prepared.’ Obviously, they are going to perform a little extra work than that and consider issues nevertheless they should.”