The latest free agency rumors surrounding the Cubs have them possibly targeting former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. The 30-year-old slugger missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during the final week of spring training.
The Phillies have already signaled that they are moving on from their 2014 draft pick, announcing that the team will stick with Bryce Harper at first base after he filled in for Hoskins at the position in 2023.
The Cubs had below-average offensive production from their first basemen last season and at this point the position is one of the obvious needs to address in the offseason. In the past month or so, Pete Alonso trade rumors and a potential reunion with Cody Bellinger have dominated headlines when it comes to the Cubs stabilizing first base in 2024. If you look at the current Cubs roster, Matt Mervis and Patrick Wisdom are near the top of the depth chart, while the team is also trying to get Christopher Morel some time at first base during his playing time in the Winter League.
So yeah, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hoskins is on the Cubs’ radar this offseason.
Via The Athletic.
With an opening at first base and a need for a middle-of-the-order hitter, the Cubs view Rhys Hoskins as a good fit for their roster, league sources said, seeing it as another opportunity to add an impact player with postseason experience without having to go long on a contract.
Scott Boras, who is Hoskins’ agent, has recent experience not just with working out a short-term “pillow contract” but he’s also done it with the current Cubs front office. Last week at the GM Meetings, Boras was asked if a Bellinger-like deal would be a fair expectation for Hoskins this free agent period.
Bellinger, who was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers following two down years, essentially signed a one-year, $17.5 million deal with the Cubs last offseason.
It’s not quite the same situation as Bellinger, who is a few years younger than Hoskins, who will be 31-years-old by Opening Day 2024, but for the Cubs it would be an ideal acquisition. This isn’t to say that Hoskins’ should be the big bat acquired by the team this winter, but if he’s a complimentary addition, then that’s a pretty damn good offseason.
Hoskins made his MLB debut in 2017, when he played in 50 games. He was fantastic then, slashing .259/.396/.618, with 18 home runs in 212 plate appearances. Although he’s never been an All-Star, Hoskins has consistently been a top-five first baseman in the National League since coming up. From 2018-22, Hoskins posted an .833 OPS and 123 wRC+.
Overall in his career, the right-handed hitter has a slash line of .242/.353/.492, with a 13.5 BB% and 23.9 K%. Hoskins has hit at least 27 home runs in every full season he’s played in.
Hoskins, who was working out in Florida during October, hoping to return to the Phillies if they had advanced to the World Series, has been projected to sign 1 or 2 year contract at about $17 million per year.