Cubs sign gold-glove first baseman Eric Hosmer, Mark Leiter Jr. designated for assignment
|Friday, January 13, 2023, 10:06 AM-|
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today agreed to terms with first baseman Eric Hosmer on a one-year major league contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. To make room for Hosmer on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. has been designated for assignment.
Hosmer, 33, is a four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner (2013-15, 2017), was named the 2016 All-Star Game MVP and earned a 2017 Silver Slugger Award across his 12-year major league career with Kansas City (2011-17), San Diego (2018-22) and Boston (2022). In 1,658 career major league games, Hosmer owns a .277 average (1,731-for-6,255) with 319 doubles, 20 triples, 196 home runs, 879 RBI and 556 walks, contributing to a .336 on-base percentage and a .764 OPS. From 2011-21, Hosmer ranked second among major league first basemen in hits (1,629), games played (1,554) and stolen bases (76).
The six-foot four-inch Hosmer split the 2022 season between Boston and San Diego, batting .268 (102-for-380) with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 44 RBI in 104 games. In April, he batted .389 (28-for-72), the eighth-highest mark all-time by a Padres player during the month (min. 75 PA) and through May 13, he led the major leagues with a .377 average (43-for-114). On August 2, Hosmer was acquired by Boston from San Diego in a four-player trade and played in 14 games for Boston before being placed on the injured list August 21 and missing the rest of the season with low back inflammation.
Hosmer made his major league debut in 2011 with Kansas City, finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. During his inaugural major league campaign, the left-handed hitting first baseman led all qualifying major league rookies in average (.293), go-ahead RBI (26) and game-winning RBI (13), while leading all A.L. rookies in hits (153), runs (66) and multi-hit games (42). He was named the A.L. Rookie of the Month for both July and September.
In 2015, Hosmer helped guide the Royals to their first World Series title since 1985, becoming the first A.L. first baseman since Rafael Palmeiro (1997-99) to win a Gold Glove in three-straight seasons. He finished the campaign tied for the A.L. lead among first basemen with a .997 fielding percentage, while finishing among the league leaders in runs (T-8th, 98) and RBI (T-12th, 93). In the postseason, Hosmer recorded 17 RBI in 16 games, including at least one RBI in 11 of his final 13 postseason games.
Hosmer in 2016 and 2017 batted a combined .292 (353-for-1,208) with 55 doubles, two triples, 50 home runs and 198 RBI in 320 games for the Royals. During the 2017 campaign, Hosmer set career highs in hits (192), average (.318), on-base percentage (.385), slugging percentage (.498), OPS (.882) and total bases (300), en route to his first career Silver Slugger award.
A native of South Miami, Fla., Hosmer graduated from American Heritage High School (Fla.) and was selected in the first round (third overall) by Kansas City in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Leiter, 31, signed a minor league contract with Chicago in December of 2021 and last season was 2-7 with a 3.99 ERA (30 ER/67.2 IP) and three saves in 35 games for the Cubs, including four starts.