HomeOther Philly SportsThe signing of Ohtani should provide a clearer picture of Rhys Hoskins'...

The signing of Ohtani should provide a clearer picture of Rhys Hoskins’ market – Phillies Nation

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Rhys Hoskins is a free agent. (Cheryl Pursell)

With Shohei Ohtani off the board, expect the Hot Stove to heat up.

Ohtani’s 10-year, $700 million agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers doesn’t necessarily set the market for everyone else, but allows other teams in on Ohtani to turn their attention to other free agents. Teams like the Cubs, Blue Jays, Angels and Giants sought clarity on Ohtani before turning their attention to other free agents and trade targets.

A number of dominoes could fall following Ohtani’s decision. We could learn a lot more about what Rhys Hoskins’ market looks like in the coming days.

The teams in on Ohtani had to keep the DH spot open. Hoskins’ camp will likely tell interested teams that he can handle first base on a near full-time basis coming off ACL surgery, but he likely benefits from going to a team with significant DH at-bats up for grabs.

Some Ohtani suitors have already expressed interest in Hoskins, including the Cubs and Blue Jays. It wouldn’t have made sense for either of those teams to move quickly on Hoskins as they waited for Ohtani to make his decision.

It would make sense for the Blue Jays and Cubs to pivot to someone like Hoskins after losing out on Ohtani. He is not the only coveted DH type on the market. J.D. Martinez, who was excellent for the Dodgers in 2023, did not receive a qualifying offer from Los Angeles because they had to keep the DH spot open for Ohtani. Jon Heyman of the New York Post lists the Angels, Mariners, Mets and Diamondbacks as possibilities for Martinez.

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A few of those teams could also be a fit for Hoskins, although none of them have been officially connected to Hoskins in the rumor mill. Among the four teams Heyman lists for Martinez, Arizona seems like the most intriguing fit for Hoskins.

It would be heartbreaking for Phillies fans to see Hoskins go to the Diamondbacks a year after they beat the Phillies in seven games in the NLCS, but Arizona is reportedly open to adding a full-time DH and need a right-handed bat to replace free agent Tommy Pham in the middle of the order. They have already expressed interest in Jorge Soler. Christian Walker is the starting first baseman in Arizona, so Hoskins would be the DH if he signed with the Diamondbacks.

Hoskins could sign a prove-it deal after missing all of 2023. Agent Scott Boras compared his free agent situation to Michael Conforto, who missed 2022 due to injury and signed a two-year, $36 million deal with the Giants that included an opt out.

“It’s kind of like when [Michael] Conforto was on the market a year ago and missed play for a year,” Boras told reporters at the Winter Meetings, including Bobby Nightengale of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Rhys has a great reputation as a leader, plus his 30 [homers], 100-RBI consistency is something every team looks at. We have a lot of suitors for him.”

Barring a dramatic pivot, the Phillies are all but out on re-signing Hoskins. Bryce Harper will be the team’s starting first baseman moving forward and the Phillies already have Kyle Schwarber penciled in as the team’s full-time designated hitter.

Any chance of Hoskins returning involves the Phillies tweaking their plan at first base and either having Harper move back to the outfield full time for the duration of a possible Hoskins deal or having Harper play both first base and outfield.

The Phillies, according to Dave Dombrowski and Rob Thomson, were not comfortable with using Harper in a hybrid role.

“Really, the one thing we had talked about is we would do one or the other but not both,” Dombrowski said following the Aaron Nola press conference. “[Harper] would do anything, but even out training staff, everybody felt that — you know he could do it, but let’s settle in one spot. Because he still has things to learn at first base, so it’s going to take a while for him to go ahead and learn everything. It was always more of a situation of doing one or the other.”

“I think it’s just cleaner and I think it helps [Harper] to be a better first baseman,” Thomson told reporters at the Winter Meetings. “Not that he’s a bad first baseman. I was really surprised and really happy with the way he played, but I think he’s got a chance to be a really really good first baseman and I think he needs to get consistent reps.”

Whether he takes a one-year deal or gets multiple years, Hoskins will look to stay healthy and put up big numbers in 2024 with his new team. He slashed .246/.332/.462 with 30 home runs and 79 RBIs in his last full season with the Phillies in 2022. There was some hope that Hoskins would be ready to serve as a pinch hitter for the Phillies in the NLCS, but he was not added to the roster.


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