Can Hosmer, Mancini regain their old forms with Cubs?
Late last week, the Cubs had a big hole at first base.
Now, there's a crowd at the corner infield spot.
A day after Eric Hosmer officially signed a one-year contract, the Cubs reportedly landed Trey Mancini on a two-year, $14 million deal late Saturday.
A Notre Dame product, the 30-year-old Mancini can also play left and right field in addition to first base. Designated hitter is another option.
Before the Cubs Convention kicked off Friday at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said the left-handed hitting Hosmer was likely to start at first base against right-handed starters.
In 104 combined games with the Padres and Red Sox last season, the 33-year-old Hosmer hit .268/.334/.382 with 8 home runs and 44 RBI.
Traded from San Diego to Boston in early August, Hosmer struggled with the Red Sox and had 4 RBI and no home runs in 14 games while dealing with lower back inflammation.
The Cubs are hoping a healthy Hosmer gets back to being the productive hitter he was from 2011-19 with the Royals and Padres.
"There are good years left," Hoyer said. "It was a chance to bring in a guy that has had some really good years, has had a really good career, and there's a change of scenery element."
The right-handed hitting Mancini will also try to regain his old form at the plate.
After spending the first five-plus years of his career with the Orioles, Mancini was traded to the Astros last August. He hit just .176/.258/.364 with 8 home runs and 22 RBI in 51 games with Houston before becoming a free agent.
Mancini had a breakout season in 2019, slashing .291/.364/.535 with 35 homers and 97 RBI in 154 games with Baltimore.
He missed the entire 2020 season after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.
Mancini's deal with the Cubs reportedly includes an opt out after this season if he reaches 350 plate appearances.
Before the Hosmer and Mancini additions, rising prospect Matt Mervis topped the Cubs' depth chart at first base.
There's a chance Mervis forces his way on to the 26-man roster in spring training, but it now looks like the 24-year-old slugger is going to open the season at Class AAA Iowa.
According to MLB.com, the Cubs agreed to contracts with three players as the international signing period opened on Sunday. The deals are all pending physicals.
Shortstop Derniche Valdez is the top addition, and the Dominican Republic product is joining the Cubs after signing for $2.7 million.
The other two players are also shortstops - Ludwig Espinoza from Venezuela ($1.5 million) and Angel Cepeda from the Dominican Republic ($1 million).