Of all the holes in the Milwaukee Brewers roster to address this offseason, it's hard to argue that the most glaring of which is at first base.
It didn't feel like this would be the case just half a year ago. But since the beginning of last season, Rowdy Tellez has been non-tendered due to performance, 2023 midseason acquisition Carlos Santana has returned to free agency, as is Keston Hiura who never even played in the majors last season.
That leaves just new Brewer Jake Bauers and Owen Miller manning the position, which is probably less firepower than Milwaukee will want heading into 2024. So unless GM Matt Arnold brings in another first baseman via trade, the fact is that the Brewers may have to do something they don't normally do and pony up a pretty penny for one in free agency.
If the Brewers are going to spend for a first baseman, they should target free agent Rhys Hoskins.
Rhys Hoskins, 30, is hitting the free agent market for the first time in his career. He had previously spent his entire career as a member of the Philadelphia Philles, who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2014 draft out of Cal State.
Hoskins played in six seasons for the Phillies and has a career slash line of .242/.353/.492 in 667 career games. He has never had an OPS below .794 in any of his seasons, hit at least 27 homers in four seasons, and took fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017.
He would also help fix what has been a huge thorn in the Brewers' side for years: hitting left-handed pitching. For his career, Hoskins is a .250 batter against southpaws and has a whopping .921 OPS against them as well.
It may be surprising to some that a player like Hoskins would no longer be in the Phillies' plans. But on top of coming off of an entire missed season due to ACL surgery, he lost his job when Philly decided to move forward with former MVP Bryce Harper at the first base position.
Because Hoskins is coming off such a major surgery, Hoskins may have to take a shorter "prove it" deal in free agency. So while a projected $18MM AVV (per MLB Trade Rumors) is a lot for a team like the Brewers to stomach, it would be for a short period of time but would also put a run producer in the lineup while the next wave of young players continue to grow into their potential.
It's true, paying that much for a player isn't something the Brewers often do. But quality first basemen cost money and Milwaukee desperately needs one. Hoskins would be expensive, but he'd be worth the money.