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Rhys Hoskins, Brewers agree to free-agent contract

The Milwaukee Brewers are on the verge of addressing a major gap in their roster by finalizing a two-year, $34 million deal with former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. While the club has yet to officially confirm the agreement, a source revealed to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand on Tuesday that the deal includes an opt-out clause after the first season. As with all free agent signings, completion of the deal is contingent upon a successful physical examination.

Hoskins, who missed the entirety of the previous season due to a left ACL tear during Spring Training, is poised for a redemption tour. The 30-year-old slugger, if signed, would bring his powerful bat and offensive prowess to the Brewers, filling a crucial role for the team.

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Rhys Hoskins’ Road to Redemption: A fan favorite in Philadelphia, Hoskins sat out the entire 2023 season due to his injury. Although rumors circulated about his potential return for the playoffs, he did not make it back to the field. Hoskins, a righty-hitting slugger, was considered a potential pinch-hitting option for the Phillies during the World Series, but the team fell short in the NLCS against Arizona. With his knee expected to be fully healed for the upcoming season, Hoskins aims to make a strong comeback, despite potential rustiness from the extended layoff.

Statistical Outlook: Even with a dip in production in 2022, posting a .246/.332/.462 slash line with 30 homers and 79 RBIs, Hoskins remains a formidable option at the plate. His career .846 OPS and slugging percentage just below .500 highlight his consistent offensive capabilities, averaging 36 home runs per 162 games. Statcast metrics from his most recent season also paint a favorable picture of his hitting abilities, ranking in the 70th percentile or above in various offensive categories.

Defensive Considerations: While Hoskins excels with the bat, his defensive prowess is limited, ranking 33rd out of 36 qualified first basemen in Outs Above Average in 2022. This contrasts with the Brewers’ defensive excellence, leading the National League in defensive runs saved last season. However, the potential trade-off in defensive performance appears justified given the offensive boost Hoskins could provide.

Addressing Offensive Woes: Hoskins’ potential arrival is expected to address the Brewers’ offensive struggles at first base. Brewers first basemen ranked 28th of 30 teams in wRC+ (81) and 28th with a .681 OPS last season. The addition of Hoskins would likely elevate the team’s offensive production from the first base position.

Versatility and Hitting Against Lefties: While Hoskins has some experience in left field, the Brewers plan to utilize him primarily at first base, occasionally deploying him as the designated hitter. His career OPS of .921 against left-handed pitchers could be a valuable asset for the Brewers, particularly in improving their performance against lefties.

Conclusion: Rhys Hoskins’ potential signing represents a significant move for the Milwaukee Brewers, addressing offensive shortcomings and providing a powerful bat in their lineup. As negotiations conclude and the deal awaits official confirmation, Brewers fans eagerly anticipate the redemption tour of this talented slugger, hopeful that Hoskins will play a pivotal role in the team’s success in the upcoming season.

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