Only two weeks ago, as the KC Royals' tribute to retiring Lorenzo Cain neared, we speculated here that his time in Chicago might be running out for fellow former Kansas City star Eric Hosmer.
The speculation seems to have ended today. The Cubs have designated the first baseman-DH for assignment, which means there is virtually no chance he'll ever wear a Cubs uniform again.
Far more likely is that another club claims Hosmer on waivers and he tries to resurrect his now-quiet bat there, or he becomes a free agent and shops that bat on the open market. Less likely is that Hosmer, only 33, will go quietly and disappear into retirement.
What led to Chicago's decision to DFA the former KC Royals standout?
Although the Cubs haven't announced what specifically motivated them to DFA Hosmer, the decision likely had much to do with his .234/.280/.330 line, which pales in comparison to his career .276/.335/.427 mark, and his lack of production—he's hit only two homers and driven in just 14 runs in 31 games this season. He finished April batting .250 and is 4-for-22 (.182) in May.
Sadly, Hosmer's inability to hit well this year continues the downward trend his performance at the plate has taken since he elected free agency after 2017 and signed his eight-year, $144 million contract with San Diego. He hit .265 with 69 homers for the Padres before they traded him last July to Boston, where he didn't homer and batted .244 before an injury forced him out of action for the rest of the year. The Red Sox DFA'd him after the campaign ended and he signed with the Cubs in January.
Also not helpful for Hosmer's prospects to stick with Chicago was the club's early May promotion of first base prospect Matt Mervis to the majors—Hosmer hasn't played first base since.
Should the KC Royals consider acquiring their ex-Gold Glove first baseman?
No. While the Royals could benefit from Hosmer's brand of leadership, and despite the four Gold Gloves he won during his seven Kansas City seasons, they have no place for him to play. First base is now the exclusive territory of Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino, and Hosmer's declining bat won't justify a place in the DH rotation that belongs to Pasquantino, Salvador Perez, and occasionally others. Hosmer's eventual spot in the KC club's Hall of Fame is secure, but the Royals' need for him on the field is long gone.