Free Agent Profile: Bryce Harper moving to first base means Rhys Hoskins’ time with the Phillies is over

Photo credit:Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
Could the Toronto Blue Jays find a power-hitting first baseman in free agency?
In this series, we look at free agents who the Jays could have an interest in as free agency continues. We’ve already covered nine players, which you can find at the bottom of the article. Let’s take a look at Rhys Hoskins.

Rhys Hoskins’ 2023:

Late in Spring Training, Hoskins tore his ACL on a fairly innocuous play on a ground ball and wound up missing the entirety of the 2023 season, along with the playoffs. Several months prior, he avoided his last season of arbitration by agreeing to a $12 million deal for the 2023 season.
Instead, we’ll look at his 2022 season, the last full season he played in. The year the Philadelphia Phillies went to the World Series, Hoskins slashed .246/.332/.462 with 30 home runs in 672 plate appearances. He had a 122 wRC+ (below his career norm) and a 2.3 fWAR, the second-highest mark in his career.
Selected by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, Hoskins broke into the big leagues during the 2017 season and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. Over his career in the Majors, Hoskins has slashed a .242/.353/.492 line with 148 home runs over 2,877 plate appearances in the 667 games he’s played. He has a 13.5 BB% and a 23.9 K% for a 126 wRC+ and an 11.6 fWAR.

Rhys Hoskins’ contract:

The 2023 season was the last season where Hoskins was arbitration-eligible. At the beginning of free agency, the Phillies announced that Bryce Harper would become their full-time first baseman (after playing there in 2023 due to Tommy John surgery) and that Hoskins would not be re-signed.
The team also opted not to issue him a qualifying offer, so he’s a free agent without draft pick compensation attached to his name. 
Using Jim Bowden’s contract predictions article at The Athletic, he believes that Hoskins will sign a “show-me” deal worth $12 million, which he was making last season. Another site, MLB Trade Rumors, believes he’ll still sign a pillow contract, but at two seasons, $36 million with an opt-out after the first season, equating to $18 million a season.
Given the quality of names on the market and the success that Hoskins has had in the past, the multi-year deal seems more likely. He’s young enough that he likely won’t have to settle on a one-year, show-me contract, though a deal with an opt-out after 2024 might be ideal for the player.

Is Rhys Hoskins a fit for the Blue Jays:

As you may know, the Blue Jays have a franchise cornerstone named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. playing first base. It’s not odd to have two good offensive first basemen, as Brandon Belt was one of the team’s best players in 2023, posting a 138 wRC+.
However, you’d usually want a platoon situation, and both Hoskins and Guerrero Jr. bat right-handed. Not just that, but Hoskins is coming off a major surgery. It’s not too uncommon for players with knee injuries to never regain their previous form, so we don’t really know how Hoskins would perform after missing an entire season.
Still, a short-term deal could help the Blue Jays tremendously, as he could easily hit 25-30 home runs in a designated hitter role. On top of that, if he has a great season, the Blue Jays could extend a qualifying offer to Hoskins, meaning they could potentially get a draft pick if he’s a one-and-done. 

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.



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