CHICAGO — Eric Hosmer arrived at Cubs Convention this weekend as the Cubs’ new veteran first baseman, wearing a sharp blue Cubbie jacket. Prospect Matt Mervis made his way around the Sheraton Grand Chicago, as fans lined up to get the autograph of a future first baseman.
And on Saturday night, as Cubs fans were toasting to the upcoming season with one day left in the conference, news broke of the first baseman. Trey Mancini He was also in the North Siders’ plans. A source told MLB.com’s Mark Vinsand that Mancini has agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs, pending a physical.
The Cubs have not confirmed the deal, which includes opting out after the 2023 season, according to Feinsand. The financial side of the contract was not immediately known.
Earlier Saturday at the Cubs Convention, baseball operations president Jed Hoyer noted that left-swinging Hosmer “plays every day against right-handed pitchers.” That left the possibility open to a platoon with a left-handed batter. Mancini fits this mold.
Hosmer said that “everything” about the Cubs situation was attractive.
“It’s just a young, energetic group,” Hosmer said. “From the other side you look in, you see the talent, you see the guys who are on their way up and some of the signs they’ve given.”
Before Hosmer came up with a minimum league deal — San Diego is on the hook for the remainder of his previous contract running through 2025 — the Cubs signed free agents Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger and Jameson Tellon, among others.
“They sound like a really good group and they seem like a wide open band,” Hosmer said. “And that these guys can have a really good opportunity. And I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Hoyer believed there could be a “real change of scene element” in Hosmer’s situation.
“In San Diego, he went there and signed a big contract,” Hoyer said. “He had a few good years, but things obviously didn’t turn out as well as they had hoped and he moved on. And it wasn’t the most comfortable environment it’s been in. And bringing him into our environment, I think there’s a good few years left.”
Mancini — who was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2021 after returning from stage 3 colon cancer — comes in a solid showing in 2021 between the Orioles and Astros. He belted 18 homers with 63 RBIs, but struggled (0.622 OPS) after a mid-season trade to Houston.
Mancini’s best season came in 2019, when he had 35 homers and a . 899 OPS rushing pitcher for Baltimore. Over the course of his career, he has posted notable splits against righties (.265/.330/.456) and lefties (.266/.331/.459).
Hosmer has earned four Gold Glove Awards, but his advanced defensive metrics haven’t been kind to him in recent years. At the plate, he had reverse splits in 2022 (.773 OPS vs. lefty, compared to .693 OPS vs. right), but has fared better against right-handers (.810 OPS) than southpaws (.668 OPS) in his career.
On the field, the 30-year-old Mancini is experienced in both outfield positions as well, but his fit with the Cubs will be at first base, where he’s been an excellent fullback. Patrick Wisdom can also field first and bat as a designated hitter, but he can also stay at third with Mancini on board.
The addition of Mancini to first base and a picture DH could also mean that Murvis’ most likely destination come Opening Day is Triple-A Iowa. Last year, the 24-year-old Mervis hit .309 with 36 homers, 119 RBIs, and .984 OPS as he climbed through High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.
Before adding Hosmer and Mancini, Mervis (No. 21 On Pipeline’s Potential Top 30 Cubs list) they seem to have a real track for Chicago’s Opening Day roster. Now, the Cubs can take a more typical developmental approach to a player who is not currently on the 40-man roster.
“I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself trying to make the team by putting up a great game in spring training,” Mirvis said. “These guys are smarter than that. They’re not going to see me run a home run or whatever and say, ‘Yeah, he’s ready.’ They’ll obviously do a little more work than that and set things up as they want.”
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