When the Red Sox acquired Eric Hosmer from the Padres before the trade deadline, the path forward seemed relatively clear.
With San Diego picking up all of Hosmer’s salary for the remaining three-plus years of his deal save for the big league minimum, he offered the Red Sox low-cost stability at first base until Triston Casas was deemed ready for the big leagues. He also gave the Sox an option at designated hitter in a post-J.D. Martinez world.
And if the Sox arrived at a point where superior alternatives to Hosmer existed, they could trade the veteran. After all, for the major league minimum, the career .277/.336/.428 hitter with particularly strong numbers against righties (.287/.353/.457) offers value.
Casas appeared to accelerate his timetable down the stretch, an opportunity that emerged when Hosmer was limited to 14 games (244/.320/.311) by a back injury. Even so, the Sox may well decide that Hosmer is a fit for their 2023 roster.
But if they don’t, there’s at least one complicating factor to a trade. The eight-year, $144 million deal that Hosmer signed with the Padres after the 2017 season included a full no-trade clause covering the first three years of the deal (2018-20), then the right to identify a 10-team no-trade list for the next two years (2021-22) — at which point he’d have 10/5 rights and could veto a trade to any team.
In August, the Padres initially agreed to send Hosmer to the Nationals in the Juan Soto blockbuster. But Hosmer vetoed that deal, resulting in the decision to ship him to Boston (which was not on his no-trade list) along with a pair of prospects for lefthander Jay Groome.
But according to two major league sources, the contract also included a provision that Hosmer would receive full no-trade protection for the rest of the deal if he were traded. Once Hosmer was dealt to the Sox, he gained that right.
Clearly, Hosmer is willing to exercise his right to dictate his future team. If the Sox believe that he’s not a roster fit, they would either have to trade him to a team he approves or simply release him without a return.
For now, the matter is academic, as the Sox prefer having a potential excess of options.
“I guess with what we went through this year, the question of having too many options at first base is one we’re happy to take,” said chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, referencing the Sox’ league-worst production at the position for much of 2022.
Righthander Thaddeus Ward, pitching in the Arizona Fall League, was escorted off the mound by a trainer in the fourth inning Monday night with what has been diagnosed as a left oblique strain. It remains to be determined whether he’ll pitch again in the Fall League season. Ward, 25, was sent to the AFL after being limited to 13 starts and 51⅓ innings in the minors following his return from Tommy John surgery. He finished the season in Double A Portland, forging a 2.43 ERA and 29.5 percent strikeout rate in 33⅓ innings there. He’s likely to be added to the 40-man roster and could be part of the Red Sox’ big league starting depth.
Casas joined the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League. The team’s Twitter feed welcomed “El Coloso” i.e. “The Colossus.” … Five minor league instructors won’t be back in 2023, according to a team source. Senior hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce (formerly hitting coach for the Cubs and Rangers), Double A pitching coach Lance Carter, High A Greenville hitting coach Nate Spears, and Single A pitching coach Nick Green did not have their contracts renewed. Additionally, Luke Montz, the manager of Single A Salem, left to pursue other opportunities.
The Red Sox officially announced their waiver claim of catcher Caleb Hamilton from the Twins. Hamilton, 27, was 1 for 18 with a homer in his big league debut this season. He hit .233/.367/.442 with 11 homers in Triple A, including .321/.430/.619 against lefties, while showing solid skills behind the plate, particularly with pitch framing and receiving. The Sox added him for catching depth. … The Pedro Martinez Foundation will host its sixth gala Nov. 11 at the Mandarin Oriental Boston in support of its efforts to aid children and families with education and medical services in the Dominican Republic, Boston, Lawrence, and New York. In addition to the former Red Sox ace, attendees will include Padres star Soto and Brewers shortstop Willy Adames. “I really, really appreciate the fact that I had an opportunity [to play baseball],” said Martinez. “That’s what I want to do. I want to give those kids the same opportunities that anybody can get anywhere in the world.”