Red Sox

Red Sox opted to DFA Eric Hosmer to give Triston Casas a ‘clear lane’

Boston could still be in the market to acquire a right-handed hitting first baseman, though.

Eric Hosmer's brief stint with the Red Sox ended on Friday. Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

The Red Sox made an interesting decision to designate Eric Hosmer for assignment following their trade to acquire reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals.

Sure, Hosmer wasn’t a particularly productive player over the last few years – he hit .268 with a .716 OPS to go along with eight home runs and 44 RBIs in 108 games between Boston and San Diego last season. However, the Red Sox were only paying the first baseman the minimum as the Padres are paying out the final three years and $39 million of his contract.

Hosmer’s OK-ish bat at least gave the Red Sox a fallback option though if Triston Casas struggled in his first full season in the majors. But Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom didn’t want the player who mentored Casas to get in the young first baseman’s way.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” Bloom told MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

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While Bloom seemed to commit to Casas being the full-time starting first baseman – at least against right-handed pitchers, it sounds like the Red Sox might still be open to bringing in a right-handed hitting first baseman.

Boston was in the market for a right-handed hitting first baseman earlier in the offseason. Jose Abreu was reportedly its No. 1 outside target entering free agency. The 2020 AL MVP signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Astros though as the Red Sox’ offer was in the three-year, $40 million range, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

There are still a few intriguing right-handed first baseman hitting options for the Red Sox if they’re still pursuing one even if they don’t have the upside of Abreu. Trey Mancini is probably the best first baseman on the market. He hit at least 20 home runs in four consecutive seasons he played in before 2022, when he struggled down the stretch after being traded from the Orioles to the Astros. Mancini, who turns 31 in March, offers some flexibility too as he’s played in the corner outfield spots and could potentially be a designated hitter.

Yuli Gurriel, Jesus Aguilar, and Luke Voit are the other notable right-handed hitting first baseman that could be signed to platoon with Casas. Boston could also get flexible and sign Justin Turner, who’s mostly played at third base in recent seasons but played at first base during his tenure with the Mets from 2010-13.

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The Red Sox are also still “in” on re-signing J.D. Martinez, the New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. Re-signing Martinez would likely mean signing a cheaper right-handed hitting option at first as Martinez would likely reassume the full-time designated hitter role.

Either way, the Red Sox will likely have to add another first baseman at some point. Sure, Casas is one of the best prospects in baseball but he hit .197 in 27 games last season and the Red Sox’ only other first base option at the moment is Bobby Dalbec, who the team is reportedly shopping in trades.

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