Rhys Hoskins an option for the Padres?

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Free-agent first baseman Rhys Hoskins and the San Diego Padres seem like a match, but are they? 

The San Diego Padres received very minimal offensive value last season from the first base position.

For the fourth year in a row, Jake Cronenworth‘s offensive numbers declined. Last spring, the left-handed hitter was moved to first base with the addition of Xander Bogaerts. His defensive prowess was certainly excellent, but Cronenworth put up a .689 OPS from a traditionally premium offensive position. That is a problem.

Matt Carpenter and Ji-Man Choi did not do much better for the Padres. Garret Cooper was the only player who performed slightly above average at the position. The Padres acquired Cooper from the Marlins at the 2023 MLB trade deadline, and he produced a .725 OPS and a 102 OPS+ in 41 games. Cooper is a free agent this winter and an option for the Padres. The two sides could agree if the price is right.

Along the lines of Garret Cooper comes Rhys Hoskins. The 30-year-old, right-handed hitter missed the 2023 season after sustaining a knee injury in the spring. In 2022, Hoskins played in 156 games, hitting 30 homers and putting up a .246/.332/.462 batting line with a .794 OPS and a 123 OPS+ for the Phillies. The career  OPS sits at .846 in Hoskin’s six years at the major league level. The native of Sacramento has value and could produce at a high level for a few more seasons.

Hoskins should have no trouble securing a major league contract. A few teams may be interested in a multiple-year deal. But his value is low right now, coming off an injury. The 2023 season was supposed to be a big year for Hoskins as he hit free agency, but it proved to be a trying season instead. The Hoskins’ representatives may choose to take a one-year deal with incentives to prove his knee is fine. They may want him to explore free agency again next winter. If that is the case, the power hitter will want to play in a favorable place with a lineup of sluggers. The Padres certainly fit that ball, though Petco Park is not recognized as a hitter’s paradise.

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The Padres will need to do their due diligence on Hoskins. They have minimal money to spend this winter and cannot continue to make mistakes when it comes to valuing a player. Finances are tight, as the pitching staff needs to be reworked, and upgrades are needed in the lineup. This winter should be busy for the Padres and A.J. Preller. Once a manager is hired, expect the Padres to be more active in the free-agent market.

It will come down to dollars and cents for the Padres in 2024.

Rhys Hoskins would be an excellent offensive upgrade for the team, but they cannot pay much. If Hoskins is looking for a one-year deal to prove his value, then the two sides could come to an agreement. It will depend on how the market for Hoskins is during the winter. Right-handed hitting sluggers are pretty common around the league—even someone of Hoskins’ pedigree. The Padres certainly do not want to overpay for his services.

One thing we know for sure is that the Padres will need to sign some undervalued players this winter to fill out the roster. Rhys Hoskins fits that bill and could give the Padres some right-handed power in the middle of their lineup. We shall see what the Padres do.

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