If you’re enjoying the World Series, be sure to keep an eye on Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, a right-handed bat who just so happens to be a free agent after next season.
Josh Naylor has done more than enough to continue as the Cleveland Guardians’ left-handed option at first base, but it’s clear the team needs a little more flexibility at the position, along with another power bat in the lineup. Hoskins could be the answer.
In his six years in the majors, Hoskins sports a 125 OPS+. He’s got the potential to hit 30 home runs and 30 doubles each and every season, and he offsets his strikeouts with a keen eye at the plate; he has a career .353 on-base percentage and led the NL in walks with 116 in 2019. In other words, he fits right into Cleveland’s current offensive philosophy.
What would it take for the Cleveland Guardians to acquire Rhys Hoskins?
There were rumblings around this year’s trade deadline that Hoskins could be dealt, though that was before everything really started to click for the Phillies on their run to the postseason. But Philadelphia has clearly entertained the thought, and if the organization is looking to shed a little bit of payroll while still contending and adding a few decent young pieces in the process, moving Hoskins could make a lot of sense.
It’s doubtful Philadelphia will want to pay Hoskins – who turns 30 next season – for the long-term considering their other big contracts (though the Phillies have not shied away recently from dishing out sizable contracts), so his trade value increases slightly ahead of next year rather than at 2023’s trade deadline, when a team might only get him as a rental for a few months.
Before this season, Hoskins signed a one-year deal for $7.7 million, so he’ll certainly be making over $10 million next season. But that would be a pretty affordable price for even a rental bat, and it’s possible the Guardians could be in the mix on, say, a three-year deal that would help solidify the position as other young bats find their way through the system (hello, Jhonkensy Noel).
There could be a decent market out there for Hoskins, but the Guardians have plenty of minor-league firepower that could get a deal done. A lot will hinge on whether Cleveland thinks it can sign Hoskins for multiple years to warrant what it might give up. But the fact is that the Guardians are squarely in a contention window right now, and Hoskins is the exact type of player they need to help solidify the lineup in 2023. He will definitely be a name to watch this offseason.