First base is the most obvious position the Brewers need to upgrade this offseason. That's been the case largely for the last decade or so, and it's the case once again.
This season, Rowdy Tellez became the first player to be the Opening Day starter in back to back seasons at first base for Milwaukee since Prince Fielder back in 2011. The position's constantly in turnover. Tellez struggled beginning in mid-May and then an injury wiped out most of his second half, leading to his non-tender in November.
Prior to non-tendering Tellez, the Brewers acquired 28 year old journeyman Jake Bauers, a career .663 OPS hitter. He and Owen Miller are the only first basemen currently on the roster. To say Milwaukee's first base situation right now is horrendous would be an understatement.
Reinforcements from the farm system like Brock Wilken, Wes Clarke, or Mike Boeve are at least a year away. The Brewers need to make an external addition to address first base.
Here are four different ways the Brewers could address first base and avert disaster at the position this offseason.
1. Sign Free Agent 1B Rhys Hoskins
The simplest solution is oftentimes the best one. Former Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in spring training last season. He's been a very productive bat in his career, hitting 242/.353/.492 with a career 125 OPS+.
Hoskins can reliably be counted on for around 30 homers a season, a .245-.250 batting average, and an .800-.900 OPS. That's the kind of bat the Brewers need in the heart of their lineup. The top home run hitter for the Crew in 2023 was Willy Adames with 24. They didn't hit for enough power and the struggles at first base were a big reason why. Plugging Hoskins in at first base would solve a major need.
Typically, Hoskins would be heading for a long-term contract this offseason that would take him out of Milwaukee's price range. But because he missed all of 2023 with an injury, it's likely he'd be available on a one year contract to re-establish his value on the open market. Signing Hoskins would give the Brewers a player motivated to put up the best season possible and an opportunity to give him a Qualifying Offer next winter and recoup a draft pick.
The Brewers have been willing to make these kinds of one year deals in the past, signing Yasmani Grandal to a one year deal with a higher value so he could re-establish his value because he wasn't getting the long-term offers he wanted. Hoskins is unlikely to find long term offers to his liking this offseason and a one year deal in a hitter friendly park in Milwaukee is a great spot for him to bounce back.
Even on a one year deal, Hoskins won't be cheap. He'd be worth it, though.